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清 明 節(Tomb-Sweeping Day)

Qing Ming Jie(All Souls' Day)
    Qing Ming is a time to remember the dead and the dearly departed. More important, it is a period to honour and to pay respect to one's deceased ancestors and family members. Because it reinforces the ethic of filial piety, Qing Ming is a major Chinese festival.
    Literally meaning "clear" (Qing) and "bright" (Ming), this Chinese festival falls in early spring, on the 106th day after the winter solstice. It is a "spring" festival, and it is an occasion for the whole family to leave the home and to sweep the graves of their forebears. Chinese being practical people this sweeping of the graves is given an extended period, that is, 10 days before and after Qing Ming day. Among some dialect groups a whole month is allocated.
ORIGIN
    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.

     清明節是一個紀念祖先的節日。主要的紀念儀式是掃墓,掃墓是慎終追遠、郭親睦鄰及行孝的具體表現;基于上述意義,清明節因此成為華人的重要節日。
     清明節是在仲春和暮春之交,也就是冬至后的106天。掃墓活動通常是在清明節的前十天或后十天。有些地域的人士的掃墓活動長達一個月。
起源
    談到清明節,有點歷史知識的人,都會聯想到歷史人物介子椎。據歷史記載,在兩千多年以前的春秋時代,晉國公子重耳逃亡在外,生活艱苦,跟隨他的介子椎不惜從自己的腿上割下一塊肉讓他充饑。后來,重耳回到晉國,作了國君(即晉文公,春秋五霸之一),大事封賞所有跟隨他流亡在外的隨從,惟獨介子椎拒絕接受封賞,他帶了母親隱居綿山。
    晉文公無計可施,只好放火燒山,他想,介子椎孝順母親,一定會帶著老母出來。誰知這場大火卻把介子椎母子燒死了。為了紀念介子椎,晉文公下令每年的這一天,禁止生火,家家戶戶只能吃生冷的食物,這就是寒食節的來源。
    寒食節是在清明節的前一天,古人常把寒食節的活動延續到清明,久而久之,清明取代了寒食節。拜介子椎的習俗也變成了清明掃墓的習俗了。無論以何種形式紀念,為了使紀念祖先的儀式更有意義,我們應該讓年輕一代的家庭成員了解先人過去的奮斗歷史,當然,還要學習介子椎寧死不屈的氣節。
擴充閱讀一:Chinese Ching Ming Festival
    A Chinese holiday, celbrated on April 5th, is the Ching Ming Festival (aka Qingming Festival.) Ching, in Chinese, means pure or clean and Ming means brightness. Most people call this holiday grave-sweeping day because people head to the cemetery to clean graves.
    There are many Ching Ming rituals[儀式] which include pulling out weeds around the headstone, cleaning the stone and replacing wilted or dead flowers with fresh ones. People also burn incense[薰香] and paper money. The paper money is for the deceased to use in the afterlife. You'll even see food arranged on headstones but it's not a picnic. The food is an offering to the spirits. Three sets of chopsticks[筷子] and three Chinese wine cups are also placed above the food, close to the headstone.
    Other rituals include family members pouring wine on the grave or setting off firecrackers[鞭炮] to scare away evil spirits. The firecrackers also let deceased loved ones know they're there to pay their respects. Legend has it that unhappy spirits wander the earth on Ching Ming day. It's considered bad luck to do important business or have an operation on April 5th. Stick to hanging out in the cemetery and offering your ancestors food and fake money.
The practice of ancestor worship is based on three beliefs:
    1) that a person's good or bad fortune is influenced by the souls of his or her ancestors;
    2) that all departed[死去的] ancestors have the same material needs they had when alive; and
    3) that the departed can assist their living relatives.
 清明上河圖
  “清明”依音譯為“Ching Ming, 但“節”則依意譯為festival,合起來便是Ching Ming Festival, 是音譯和意譯的混合物。


 

 
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