Ching Ming can be directly translated to clean and bright, and the main focus of this holiday is to pay respects to their ancestors who have passed away. The Ching Ming festival or better known as Tomb Sweeping Day “reflects the reverence for those who have passed through weeding and sweeping the grave sites, presenting flowers and willow branches to ward off evil spirits and placing offerings on their graves.” This festival falls between April 4th and 6th and is the second of 24 solar terms on the Chinese Solar calendar. This celebration is held annually and is a day set aside to remember and honor the ancestors who have passed away. This is all important because it correlates directly to Confucianism and the respects it pays to its ancestors.
Ching Ming is a celebration and it is more than honoring the ones who have passed. “It falls at the beginning of spring and is a celebration of life, beauty and a season of renewal.” During this holiday many fly kites during the night that have colored lanterns to honor the ones who have passed. This is the largest holiday when speaking in terms of paying respects to our ancestors. Nearly every ethic in China celebrates Ching Ming in one way or another. The name tomb sweeping was given to this festival because the ten days prior to the actual holiday it is tradition to go to the tomb site and sweep and clean it so that it can return to its original beauty. Other things such as incense and flowers may also be brought as a show or expression of respect. There are certain flowers that are special during this holiday, the two most popular that are used is the peach blossom and chrysanthemum.
Although this holiday is not as popular in cities because they pay their respects due during the burial ceremonies, during this time they still pay their respects and say prayers for the ancestors and deceased relatives. After paying you respects to ancestors many Chinese find it important to be one with nature and they often go on a family trip. These trips are often just down the road to a city center or natural area, but the importance is that they are experiencing and being one with nature and you family. As with most festivals, Ching Ming is accompanied with a wide selection of special cuisine to celebrate happiness. “One of the favorite dishes of Ching Ming is sazi, which is a fried wheat or rice flour that has been bound with eggs, onion, sesame, or other ingredients.” Another favorite dish is snails that have been seasoned with onion and salt, this is common throughout the time of the Ching Ming Festival.
This holiday is one of the two Confucianism specific holidays that are celebrated. Ching Ming to celebrate and pay respects to ancestors, and Confucius day which celebrates the birthday of Confucius and paying respects to him for founding the religion. “On this day people who believe in Confucianism visit the graves of their ancestors and given them offerings such as, paper money and paper cloths, or certain foods.” The main teachings in Confucianism are based on education and moral order to society.
Paying respect to your ancestors and elders was a given to Confucius. Confucius also focused a lot of his teachings around the basis of respect, and his silver rule states that “what you would not want for yourself, do not do to others.” Basically, what you can gather from this in simpler words is that nobody wants to be mistreated, so treat others with respect and kindness and they will do the same for you. You can tie these concepts to the holiday because it is based around respect and the love for your elders and passed ancestors. Many Chinese people also refer to this day as family day, because these days are spent honors past family and enjoys the current times with your family around you.
Two of the most important aspects of Confucianism in my eyes are ren and de. “Ren, sometimes translated love or kindness, is not any one virtue, but the source of all virtues, and this Chinese character literally represents the relationship between two persons.” On the other hand de is referred to as virtue or ethical behavior and can be described as a particular person that has the ability to change the course of history and comes from heaven. “Confucianism is often characterized as a system of social and ethical philosophy rather than a religion. In fact, Confucianism is built on an ancient religious foundation to establish the social values, institutions, and transcendent ideals of traditional Chinese society.”
This holiday is one of the most important holidays based around Confucianism. This is because thought the week or so that this is celebrated, you can find many of the main teachings in Confucianism. In the teachings of the five relationships you can find that three of the five relations involve family, this goes to show that this entire religion revolves around the basic family unit. Confucianism is filled with different rituals such as, Divination, Ancestor Worship, Feng Shiu, many more. I find this important because ancestor worship is second on the list of rituals, being the main focus of this holiday, I want to emphasize how important respect for elders and passed ancestors is to this religion and holiday. Another important teaching by Confucius was the respect for age, he claimed that age gives things such as objects, institutions, and individual lives there worth. The simple meaning behind this is that as life goes on a objects and people age and they live life the correct way they will earn more and more respect the older that they get.
In my eyes Confucianism is the idea that people should live out their life being both virtuous and honest. Confucianism is a religion that calls for its supporters to be honest to the people that surround them and living out there life as virtuous as they can.
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