List China Events Chinese Culture China Watch Chinese Music Land of China Chinese Festival Chinese History Chinese Architecture Chinese Medicine People in China What Chinese Say Martial Arts China Tales World Watch World Beyond Amusing & Musing

Home >> Chinese Festival

Tomb Weeping Festival
in Chinese Capital
A Thousand Years Ago

5 April 2009

Among countless Chinese artistic masterpieces Tomb Weeping Festival Scroll (Qingming Scroll, 清明上河图) is one of those that are best known and most praised. Created by Zhang Zeduan (张择端) of North Song Dynasty (北宋 960-1127), the whole painting is sized at a massive 0.248 x 5.28 meters, depicting in a vivid details the urban and rural scenes of the then Chinese capital Bianliang (汴梁, at today's Kaifeng 开封) and its outskirts on the Tomb Sweeping Festival day a thousand years ago.

For Chinese, Tomb Sweeping Festival is a time to pay tributes to one's ancestors and deceased family members by visiting and sweeping their graveyards and presenting relevant offerings, from incense, food, paper-cut daily accessories to flowers. The long tradition as such is believed by many to be one of the crucial factors that have contributed to the exceptional longevity of the Chinese civilization and its extraordinary ability to undergo self-renewal and regeneration, as the link in the time dimension is vigorously reinforced annually.

The festival is half a month after the Spring Equinox, and usually falls on 5 April; but sometimes, it occurs on 4 April, like this year. Since 2008, Tomb Sweeping Festival has officially become a public holiday in the mainland China.

The followings are clips from the Tomb Sweeping Festival Scroll:

The central boulevard in the capital is broad enough to accommodate a royal carriage drawn by 20 horses.

The boulevard is also a main commercial street with teahouses, restaurants, guesthouses and shops lining up on both sides.

Residential areas are behind the shop front.

Large-scaled courtyard houses normally open to a quiet street away from the central boulevard

Private gardens of the huge compound are further located at the back of the dwellings.

On this year's Tomb Sweeping Festival, a historical scene was recreated in provincial capital Kaifeng, previously the North Song capital Bianliang, with artists wearing Song-style customs and performing the activities portrayed in the celebrated Tomb Sweeping Festival Scroll.Prev:

Prev: A Tibetan's Voice (3)
Next: Mao's Prophecies


Tomb Weeping Festival Today


When Chinese mourn their lost loved ones, heaven weeps with tears, literally. It was always the case before, and it is still the case this year. So it rained on the day of the Tomb Sweeping Festival. To many Chinese cultural masters, this is only natural because it is called in traditional Chinese believe system as correlation of heaven and man (天人感应).

According to the official statistics, around 120 million people in mainland China have popped up their umbrellas and walked into the rain heading for the cemeteries on Saturday, which is a 30 percent increase in participation level comparing to last year.

(Source of info and photo: 张国俊摄新华社)

Since 2 April, the sealed town Beichuan, in the centre of the deadly 5.12 earthquake that killed around 8,000 people in Sichuan last year, temporarily reopened to the former residents, so as to allow them to revisit the site where their loved ones are buried underneath. Tributes for the victims also poured in via online services throughout the nation.

(Source of info & photo: 钟敏 摄, 新华社发)

Home List About This Website Contact Us

Copyright © 2008 - 2017