清明是我国的二十四节气之一。由于二十四节气比较客观地反映了一年四季气温、降雨、物候等方面的变化,所以古代劳动人民用它安排农事活动。但是,清明作为节日,与纯粹的节气又有所不同。节气是我国物候变化、时令顺序的标志,而节日则包含着一定的风俗活动和某种纪念意义。因此,这个节日中既有祭扫新坟生别死离的悲酸泪,又有踏青游玩的欢笑声,是一个富有特色的节日。

清明节是我国传统节日,也是最重要的祭祀节日,是祭祖和扫墓的日子。扫墓俗称上坟,祭祀死者的一种活动。汉族和一些少数民族大多都是在清明节扫墓。由于清明与寒食的日子接近,而寒食是民间禁火扫墓的日子,渐渐的,寒食与清明就合二为一了,而寒食既成为清明的别称,也变成为清明时节的一个习俗,清明之日不动烟火,只吃凉的食品。

按照旧的习俗,扫墓时,人们要携带酒食果品、纸钱等物品到墓地,将食物供祭在亲人墓前,再将纸钱焚化,为坟墓培上新土,折几枝嫩绿的新枝插在坟上,然后叩头行礼祭拜,最后吃掉酒食回家。

与清明节扫墓的悲哀相反,人们在这个春光明媚的日子里,也一样是可以享受生活的。

放风筝也是清明时节人们所喜爱的活动。每逢清明时节,人们不仅白天放,夜间也放。夜里在风筝下或风稳拉线上挂上一串串彩色的小灯笼,象闪烁的明星,被称为“神灯”。

清明前后,春阳照临,春阳照临,春雨飞洒,种植树苗成活率高,成长快。因此,自古以来,我国就有清明植树的习惯。有人还把清明节叫作“植树节”。植树风俗一直流传至今。1979年,人大常委会规定,每年三月十二日为我国植树节。这对动员全国各族人民积极开展绿化祖国活动,有着十分重要的意义。


Qingming Festival

The Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the 24 seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increases. It is the high time for spring plowing and sowing. But the Qingming Festival is not only a seasonal point to guide farm work, it is more a festival of commemoration.

The Qingming Festival sees a combination of sadness and happiness.

This is the most important day of sacrifice. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups at this time offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the diseased. Also, they will not cook on this day and only cold food is served.

The Hanshi (Cold Food) Festival was usually one day before the Qingming Festival. As our ancestors often extended the day to the Qingming, they were later combined.

On each Qingming Festival, all cemeteries are crowded with people who came to sweep tombs and offer sacrifices. Traffic on the way to the cemeteries becomes extremely jammed. The customs have been greatly simplified today. After slightly sweeping the tombs, people offer food, flowers and favorites of the dead, then burn incense and paper money and bow before the memorial tablet.

In contrast to the sadness of the tomb sweepers, people also enjoy hope of Spring on this day. The Qingming Festival is a time when the sun shines brightly, the trees and grass become green and nature is again lively. Since ancient times, people have followed the custom of Spring outings. At this time tourists are everywhere.

People love to fly kites during the Qingming Festival. Kite flying is actually not limited to the Qingming Festival. Its uniqueness lies in that people fly kites not during the day, but also at night. A string of little lanterns tied onto the kite or the thread look like shining stars, and therefore, are called "god‘s lanterns."

The Qingming Festival is also a time to plant trees, for the survival rate of saplings is high and trees grow fast later. In the past, the Qingming Festival was called "Arbor Day". But since 1979, "Arbor Day" was settled as March 12 according to the Gregorian calendar.