Clear and Bright

Clear and bright (清明, qingming) is the fifth solar terms of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms, and the only solar term to fall on the same day as traditional festival Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节, qingming jie). As this solar term comes, temperatures begin to rise and rainfall increases, making it a crucial time for plowing and sowing in the spring, the words “clear” and “bright” are used to describe the weather during this period.

Spring outcoming and worshiping ancestors are the two themes of this solar term. As trees turn green, flowers blossom, it is a fine time for spring outing to appreciate the beauty of nature. This custom can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476BC) and Warring States Period (475 – 221BC). Worshiping ancestors is also a crucial tradition on this day, making Tomb Sweeping Day to share the same day and Chinese name as this solar term. In China, cleaning the tombs and paying respect to the dead with offerings are traditionally concerned as the two important practices to remember late relatives. On Tomb Sweeping Day, Chinese people return to their hometown, visit the tombs of the dead, clear the weeds around the tomb and add fresh soil to show care for the dead. The dead person's favorite food, wine and chopsticks are offered on their tombs, along with paper money.