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清明节 (Qīngmíngjié) Tomb Sweeping Day (Intermediate)

Apr. 5, 2015

清明节 (Qīngmíngjié) Tomb Sweeping Day (Intermediate)

Key Learning Points (Preview):

放风筝 (fàng fēngzheng): v to fly kites

荡秋千 (dàng qiūqiān): v to swing

“清明节 (Qīngmíngjié) Tomb Sweeping Day” is celebrated fifteen days after the Spring equinox and is one of the few Chinese holidays that follows the solar calendar. The traditional Chinese calendar divides a year into 24 solar terms and “清明节 (Qīngmíngjié) Tomb Sweeping Day” is the fifth solar term, which for the Gregorian calendar falls on 5th of April this year. Originating from the Zhou Dynasty with a history of more than 2500 years, Tomb Sweeping Day is the most important sacred festival in China.

The main activities are “祭祖 (jìzǔ) ancestor worship” and “扫墓 (sǎomù) sweeping tomb.” People will worship their ancestors with food and flowers. “扫墓 (sǎomù) sweeping tomb” is also referred to as “上坟 (shàngfén) visiting tomb.” When visiting the tomb, people usually carry food and fruit to the tomb. After burning the joss paper, tidying up the tomb and putting willow branches around the gates and doors of the tomb to ward off evil spirits, people will eat the food and fruit before returning to their homes.

This holiday is also important for the national identity of Chinese people. For instance, many people are probably aware that the “Yellow Emperor” is the common ancestor of the Chinese people. So on every Tomb Sweeping Day many Chinese delegates at home and from abroad will pay their respects to the “Yellow Emperor.”

This festival is also an important time for outdoor leisure activities. You can see many people in China “踏青 (tàqīng) going for a spring walk, 放风筝 (fàng fēngzheng) flying kites and 荡秋千 (dàng qiūqiān) swinging.” It is believed that people should fast and only eat cold food on this day. In order to prevent the bad effects from the cold food, people will take part in different outdoor activities; enjoy the spring weather and the change of seasons.

Key Learning Points:

放风 (fàng fēngzheng): v to fly kites

The Chinese character “放 (fàng)” means to release. “风 (fēng)” means wind and “筝 (zhēng)” means zither. “风筝 (fēngzheng)” means kite.


Guǎngchǎng shàng yǒu hěnduō rén zài fàng fēngzheng.
A: 广    场              上      有     很多     人  在 放     风 筝。

There are so many people flying kites on the square.

Wǒmen yě qù ba.
B: 我 们  也 去 吧。

Let’s also go flying kites.

(dàng qiūqiān): v to swing

The Chinese character “荡 (dàng)” means to move. “秋 (qiū)” means autumn and “千 (qiān)” means thousand literally. “秋千 (qiūqiān)” means swing.


Wǒmen qù dàng qiūqiān ba.
A: 我 们    去    荡    秋千   吧。

Let’s go swinging.

Zǒu ba, yídìng hěn hǎo wán.
B: 走   吧,一定  很  好  玩。

Ok, it will be interesting.

生词 (shēngcí) Vocabulary

清明节 (Qīngmíngjié): n Tomb Sweeping Day

祭祖 (jìzǔ): n ancestor worship

扫墓 (sǎomù): v to sweep tomb

上坟 (shàngfén): v to visit tomb

踏青 (tàqīng): v to go for a spring walk

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