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The Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Holiday


Qing Ming Holiday:

Qing Ming, pronounced “ching ming”, literally means clear and bright. But it is called Tomb Sweeping Day in English. Qing Ming is traditionally a time for families to travel to the family tomb to sweep, clean and place flowers or other memorials on the grave site. A day of commemoration for dead ancestors, Qing Ming also celebrates the oncoming spring. So it’s a day about remembering the past but also celebrating the future.

When is Qing Ming?:

Qing Ming falls on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, usually in the first week of April.


Chinese people traditionally believe that ancestors should be honored as their spirits look after the family. It is common for a family to have an altar at home where ancestors’ photos are placed and offerings of food, flowers and incense are given. Honoring ancestors goes on to the actual graveyard where there are many feng shui rules governing the ideal site. For instance, the site should face south.

Holiday History:

China has a long history of ancestor worship, but making an excursion out of the duty of tomb sweeping began in Tang Dynasty times.

Traditional Activities During Qing Ming:

  • Day of mourning for deceased ancestors
  • No cooking, only serve cold dishes
  • Sweep, clean and decorate the tomb
  • Make traditional offerings to ancestors of food, flowers
  • Take a walk in the countryside to enjoy spring
  • Fly kites

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