The main custom of Qingming Festival is also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day. There are a great many interesting customs during the Qingming Festival, similar to sweeping tombs, outgoing, swinging, Cuju (an ancient ball game), planting willow branches, and flying kites. It is the special festival interweaving joys and sorrows, separations and reunions.
To Do List on the Qingming Festival
One way to pay respect to ancestors is by sweeping their tombs, and includes the practice of cleaning tombs, adding some fresh soil, burning incense along with paper money, and offering flowers. Another way is by offering to the ancestral temples. People will have a reunion dinner after the sacrifice. Those people who cannot go back home will sacrifice while facing the direction of their hometown.
Spring outings are good for health, and it is an excellent opportunity to embrace nature and communicate with relatives and friends. The ancient Chinese called it “Xun Chun”, to look for spring.
Planting Willow Branches
Willows tend to sprout in spring, coinciding with the Sweeping Tombs Day. Due to its remarkable vitality, and the influence of Buddhism on people, people would pick a willow branch, or make a wicker garland to put on their head, and even put it on the door and the roofs of houses. It is said that willow can help to ward off evil.
Flying kites is an attractive activity popularized in folk lore. It is not only a sports entertainment, but also an exorcism. Kites can also be flown in the evening carrying little lanterns. People flying kites during the festival cut the string when the kite is in the sky instead of reeling it back in. It is believed that this practice can remove troubles and misfortune.
Playing Cuju — an ancient Chinese Football game
Cu means to kick and Ju is a kind of ball made of leather and filled with feathers. Cuju was an ancient Chinese sport, similar to soccer. Legend has it that Cuju was created by The Huangdi (an ancient Chinese race). It was a favorite sport during the festival.