Customs at Qingming Festival in Taizhou

( | Updated: 2019-01-18

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At the Qingming Festival, every household in Taizhou, Zhejiang province makes Qingtuan (salty) and Qingbing (sweet) as cold food. Qing is a kind of wild grass like artemisia, with delicate fragrance and little yellow flowers, popular around the Qingming Festival. In Taizhou, after being picked, Qing is boiled for a while and then mashed, mixed with glutinous rice and wheat flour, and finally made into dumplings and pastry called Qingtuan and Qingbing respectively. Qingtuan is cooked with sauté diced tofu, bamboo shoots, pork, gluten, and radish stuffing; while Qingbing is cooked with brown sugar and sweetened bean paste.

Tomb-sweeping is also called "offering sacrifice to the tomb" or "visiting the grave", which is not done on an absolutely fixed day. It often occurs around the Qingming Festival, generally three days before it and four days after it. According to Zhejiang Annals -- Customs and Taizhou Annals, on that very day, natives in Taizhou, rich or poor, offer sacrifice at their ancestor's grave and also light incense and spiritual money, and add soil to the grave, a custom known as "adding grave soil". In the old days people inserted bamboo and hung spiritual money in front of the grave, or put the spiritual money on the cemetery or on the back of the tombstone, calling it "money to cover the tomb". Before leaving, they hung colorful banners as the proof that the grave had been taken care of by the descendants.

Wenling and Yuhuan natives, from the south of Fujian province, would distribute Qingtuan and money to children living next to the grave as "distribution of grave money". This behavior was still practiced at the beginning of the liberation, but has recently lost its popularity.

Upon the establishment of the People's Republic of China, it became a fresh fashion to sweep the martyrs' grave at the Qingming Festival. On that day, all institutions, organizations, schools and mass groups sweep the martyrs' park in succession with wreaths and flowers, recalling the martyrs and expressing their grief.

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