When did the custom of sweeping tombs and worshipping ancestors on Qingming Festival originate?

2021-04-04 | Reading history books at night Original |

The Ching Ming Festival is one of the most important traditional festivals in China. Many people will choose to visit the tombs before and after the Ching Ming Festival to express their memory for their ancestors. So when did this custom of the Ching Ming Festival originate? Reading history books tonightLet’s talk about this topic with you.

In the early spring of the ancient northern central plains, the climate was dry and it was easy to cause fires. Therefore, people in ancient times held sacrificial activities during this time, extinguishing all the fires preserved in the previous year, that is, "fire prohibition."People can only eat cold food and raw food during the fire prohibition period, so there is a "cold food festival".

In the Spring and Autumn Period, the Jin Dynasty doctor Jie Zi did not hesitate to "cut stocks to serve the emperor", and helped Jin Chong'er through the most difficult period of his life. Later, Chong'er became the king of the Jin country, namely Jin Wengong. Jie Zi promoted meritorious service.He retired and lived in seclusion in the mountains. Jin Wengong knew that Jiezitui was unwilling to become an official, but he felt that he should repay his favor. Because he did not know where Jiezitui was hiding in the mountains, he ordered Burning Mountain to force him out, but he accidentally burned him.He died Jiezitui. In order to commemorate this loyal official and righteous man, Jin Wengong ordered Jiezitui to cook without fire and eat cold food on the day of his death. Therefore, the "Hanshi Festival" was linked with the memorial of Jiezitui.

So, what is the relationship between the Cold Food Festival and the memorial Jiezitui and the Qingming Festival tomb sweeping and ancestor worship? Actually, they are not related to each other. The reason why later generations associate the Qingming Festival with the Hanshiji and memorial Jiezitui is mainly becauseThe date is close the Cold Food Festival is one or two days before the Qingming Festival, and after the reform of the Qing Dynasty calendar is officially set as the day before the Qingming Festival, as for the specific content of the ritual activities, it is not relevant.

The real source of the custom of sweeping tombs and worshipping ancestors on the Qingming Festival actually starts from the family tombs in the period from the late Han to the Northern and Southern Dynasties.

In the late Eastern Han Dynasty, the practice of burying family members in the same cemetery began to prevail among the elite. In the Southern and Northern Dynasties, this method of family burial became the mainstream. Originally, people's grave-sweeping and ancestor worship usually took place between three generations, that is, the son gaveParents sweep the graves or grandchildren sweep the graves of grandparents, but descendants who have passed more generations will not sweep the graves of their ancestors.

After the emergence of family tombs, those distant relatives who had no contact will also participate in tomb sweeping and ancestor worship because of their common ancestors. This activity is not only to cherish the memory of the ancestors, but also to strengthen family cohesion. In the northern and southern dynasties, such continuous warsIn the middle of the age, family cohesion is particularly important. As tomb sweeping and ancestor worship were given more practical significance, it gradually developed into a ritual to connect kinship. This ritual generally occurs on the 105th day after the winter solstice, that is, the twenty-four solar terms.Tomb-sweeping and worshipping ancestors on the Qingming Festival gradually evolved into a custom. It is a common phenomenon for relatives to go to the ancestral graves of the four or five generations ago to sweep the tombs and worship their ancestors.

Starting from the early Tang Dynasty, family members will gather at the tombs of their ancestors before and after the Cold Food Festival and the Ching Ming Festival to sweep the tombs, worship the ancestors, and enjoy a feast. Those relatives who could not be beaten by a pole have also regained the opportunity to meet. In this wayIt is possible to form larger and more conscious families so that family members can act together or help each other when encountering difficulties. The court also encourages the custom of sweeping tombs and worshipping ancestors on Qingming Festival, so cold food and Qingming are listed as legalHolidays. The holidays in the Tang Dynasty ranged from four to five days, and the Song Dynasty extended the holidays to seven days.

To sum up, the source of the tomb-sweeping ancestors on the Ching Ming Festival originated from the family tombs from the late Han Dynasty to the Northern and Southern Dynasties. It evolved into a formal festival during the Tang Dynasty, and its importance continued to increase. Later, it became one of the four major traditional festivals in China.

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