QingMing Festival Tradition-Making your own Kite!

  • April 4, 2019

On the beautiful afternoon of 4th April,which is Qingming Festival, students and faculty and their families from Omeida gathered at Chinese Academy, and spent the Festival together, flying kites painted by themselves.In the English-speaking world, Qing Ming has many different names. The most common names are the Clear Brightness Festival and Tomb Sweeping Day. Why Tomb Sweeping Day? Qing Ming is an important holiday for honoring one’s ancestors, so families often visit family graves to clean them and make offerings. In traditional Chinese culture, people believe the dead play a powerful role in helping to guide the lives of the living, thus it is very important to honor and celebrate them.While Chinese people make offerings of food, wine and ghost money to their ancestors throughout the year, they spend extra time honoring the dead during Qing Ming. Chinese people journey to the burial sites of their ancestors, sweep graves, pull weeds and carefully repaint the words on the tomb.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.The earliest Chinese kites were made of wood and called Mu Yuan. Mu means wood and Yuan means sparrow hawk, a type of bird. So Mu Yuan means wooden sparrow hawk.The invention of paper did not escape the attention of kite makers and soon the kite was called Zhi Yuan. Zhi means paper, so Zhi Yuan means paper sparrow hawk. Kites were not just used for fun. They were also used for military purposes. There are historical records describing enormous kites, some of which are large enough to hife a man high in the air to observe enemy movements.Qing Ming is often celebrated together with a more ancient holiday called Han Shi or the Cold Foods Festival, which falls on the day before Qing Ming. During this festival, people only eat foods that don’t require fire to prepare in order to honor the memory of Jie Zitui (say “jie dz tway”) and his loyalty to the emperor of the Jin dynasty.In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), people would fly their kites as high as possible,then let go of the string. Off went the kite, taking with it bad luck and illness. Conversely, to pick up a kite lost or released by someone else could bring bad luck.Some enthusiasts enjoy flying kites at night. They hang small colored lanterns on the string with candles burning inside. With dozens of kites up together, arc lines of flickering multicolored lights decorate the night sky.

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Omeida is a Chinese Academy that provides high-quality Mandarin Courses to anyone who has an interest in the Chinese language. The mountains and rivers that surround our school make Omeida an ideal destination for the language learner who loves outdoor adventures.

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