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The Tomb-Sweeping Day

2017-12-08 16:11:23 作者:Tian Qian, Shi Tian 信息来源:中外节庆网


 


 

The Tomb-Sweeping Day

 

Authors /Tian Qian , Shi Tian

Translator/ Lili, Li Song

Publish/Anhui People’s Publishing House

 

1)Origin and Inheritance of Tomb-Sweeping Day

       “A drizzling rain falls ceaselessly on the Mourning Day;

The mourner’s heart is breaking on his way.

‘-Where can I find a tavern, please?

-Over there.’ A cowherd points to Almond Flower Village in the distance.”

This is a poem entitled Qingming by the great Tang dynasty poet Du Mu, which is still popular today. As a traditional Chinese festival, the practice of sweeping the ancestral tombs and honoring their ancestors during the Tomb-Sweeping Day has been inherited by the Chinese people and continues to date. However, tending to the graves of the departed ones or offering sacrifices to the ancestors didn’t exist at all times, nor were the Qingming activities just limited to these two, either.  In fact, the present-day Tomb-Sweeping Day is the integration of the ancient Shangsi Festival, Hanshi Festival and spring offerings and has evolved gradually into a traditional festival in the long process of history.

 

2)Conclusion

Qingming is a holiday to worship and reminisce the ancestors and also a time for friends and family to get gather. In the slowly rising smoke, the younger generation got the best way to inherit the traditional culture in front of the gravestone - by mouth-to-mouth and mind-to-mind instruction. The older generation told the younger generation the legendary stories of the ancestors. The delicious Qingming pastries comforted the thoughts of the wanderers from afar. The jubilant and lively song carnival brought about cheering applause from people on and off the stage.

The Tomb-Sweeping Day in history was mixed together with some traditional festivals such as the Shangsi Festival and Double-Third Festival. The origin of the Hanshi Festival was related to the fate of a loyal official. The origin of the Shangsi Festival started from people's worshiping heaven and earth and their humble but pious wish in begging for peace while spring offerings and farming are bound together with the 24 solar terms. The ancestors watched horoscope at night, trying to peep at the invisible arrangements in the nether world, just that nobody can see the invisible hand of fate in the Six Realms of Existence.

In fact, many Qingming-related legends reflect people's basic wish, "A harmonious family produces everything prosperous." And the wish that the country will be prosperous and the people will live in peace was also brought by the laborers who wandered to Southeast Asia far away from home to the other end of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and even the Pacific Ocean. The wanderers may no longer be able to return to their motherland, but they still worship the spirits of their ancestors in foreign countries and beg for the ancestors to bless the future generations.

With the application and protection of the non-material cultural heritage, some declining festivals began revitalized. The Qingming public memorial in Shaanxi is held in a mighty way; the ethnic minorities celebrate the Tomb-Sweeping Day with great gusto; and the Qingming regatta in the waterland north of Jiangsu Province pushed the Qingming celebration activities to a climax. That both the audience and the players got into the characters they were playing is exactly where the charm of the traditional culture lies in. Qingming is a season when the wanderers are easily homesick.

I have learned a lot of Qingming-related cultural knowledge during the process of writing this book. Not only is Qingming a holiday for people to give expression to their grief over the death of their loved ones and cherish the memory of the ancestors, it is also a happy time to reunite with one's family and make friends. And the younger generation will hand down the Chinese civilization in such an atmosphere and environment.

 

3)Brief Introduction to the Authors

 


Prof. TIAN Qian, PhD in anthropology, PhD supervisor and post-doc in management, is the dean of Department of Anthropology and Ethnology of Southwest University, the director of Research Center of Coordinative Development and Planning of Urban and Rural Area of Southwest University, and the head of Intangible Cultural Heritage Institute of Chinese Culture Academy of Chongqing.

TIAN Qian has received a number of awards and titles. He was selected as the first cohort of excellent young and middle-aged experts on ethnic issues of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and was sponsored by the New Century Talents Program of the Ministry of Education in 2012. He is also a member of Expert Committee on Ethnic Education of the Ministry of Education, and serves as the Deputy Secretary General of China Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Prof. Tian is an outstanding research fellow of Immigration and Ethnicity Research Center in Sun Yat-Sen University, and serves in the Research Center of Ethnic Minorities in the Southwest Border of Yunnan University, and the Research Center of Anthropology of Xiamen University, as well as the Research Center of Urban and Rural Coordinative Education Development of Southwest University. He has been rewarded as a distinguished professor in Faculty of China Rural Construction of Southwest University.

 


 SHI Tian, female, born in Chongqing in 1984, is a PhD candidate of the college of humanities, Shanghai Jiaotong University, specializing in new media, ethnic identity and so forth. She has conducted long-term filed trips in Southwest China, and focuses on the traditional culture of Miao ethnic group in modern society. She has published several journals, including Dissemination and Recognition of Oral Tradition in Online Community, Visual Presentation of Individual Ethnic Identity in Virtual Community, etc.

 

 

 

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