The Qin Ming Festival or
Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day

Qing Ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day altar with food offering

Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day at the beginning of April, is for honoring ancestors and to make sure they are happy in the after world.

Ancestor worship includes cleaning and sweeping of their graves and at the same time bringing offerings of food, normally fruits, buns and sweets, wine, etc. Cemeteries will be very crowded on this day, and this is where you are likely to see all the commotion.

Qing Ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day tombs with food offering

Burning incense is also part of the tradition. Chinese will burn incense and pray to their ancestors on this day.

Qing Ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day incense offering

Burning Paper Money Tradition

It is also common to burn other offerings, specially "ghost money".

The belief is that by burning something, the essence of the burnt element is transferred to the spirit world, where it can be used by the dead. It used to be that the most common item being "sent" was money, so the burning of paper money was most popular.

Qing Ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day burning paper money

Nowadays, there is quite a variety of items being "sent", from iPads and cellphones to cars and even modern appliances that could be "useful" to the receiver in the other world. So side by side with the traditional paper money, you see paper replicas of all the different gadgets which are burn and transferred to the deceased.

Check out this short clip showing a typical Ching Ming day in Hong Kong and the different offerings being prepared for the ancestors including ghost money, many food and every day items:

Nowadays, people like to fly kites during the Qing Ming Festival, and as it is the beginning of Spring, it is also a time to plant trees.

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