Qing Ming is popularly associated with Jie Zi Zhui, who lived in Shanxi province in 600 B.C. Legend has it that Jie saved his starving lord's life by serving a piece of his own leg. When the lord succeeded in becoming the ruler of a small principality, he invited his faithful follower to join him. However, Jie declined his invitation, preferring to lead a hermit's life with his mother in the mountains.
Believing that he could force Jie out by burning the mountain, the lord ordered his men to set the forest on fire. To his consternation, Jie chose to remain where he was and was burnt to death. To commemorate Jie, the lord ordered all fires in every home to be put out on the anniversary of Jie's death. Thus began the "cold food feast", a day when no food could be cooked since no fire could be lit.
The "cold food" festival occurs on the eve of Qing Ming and is often considered as part of the Qing Ming festival. As time passes, the Qing Ming festival replaced the "cold food" festival. Whatever practice is observed，the basic observation of Qing Ming is to remember one's elders by making a special effort to visit their graves, ashes or ancestral tablets. To make the visit even more meaningful, some time should be spent to remind the younger members of the family of the lives and contributions of their ancestors, and the story of Jie Zi Zhui who choose death over capitulation.
sweeping the tomb 扫墓
One of the most important activities on this day is to tend graves to honor ancestors,dead relatives and friends. On Tomb Sweeping Day, thousands of Chinese families will head to cemeteries to clean and sweep the tombs of deceased family members. As we gather with our families to remember our ancestors, remember to give thanks for family and the gift of life. In addition, as the spring comes and everywhere gets green, people often go picnicking, hiking, play kites or plant willows.
The traditional Chinese medical theory believes that this period is the perfect time for people to absorb Yang Qi into human’s body. Everything which may consume or block one’s Yang Qi should be avoided. People are suggested to take more exercises such as jogging, gymnastics, hiking. Although the old custom of eating cold food is still popular in some areas, not everyone’s body is suitable for doing so, especially those who have weak stomach. People should eat more fruits and vegetables such as chives,Chinese cabbage and radish.