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Monday, April 5, 2010

Tomb Sweeping Day

Today is Qingming Festival (清明节) or Tomb Sweeping Day. It's a national holiday so I get the day off from work. It sounds similar to the Day of the Dead which is celebrated in Latin America. Hoping to get some insight into Chinese traditions, I asked some of the other teachers at my school what they usually do to celebrate Tomb Sweeping Day. Nothing, they said. It's just a day off.

Wikipedia says that Qingming was banned by the Chinese government in 1949 (probably as part of the campaign to eradicate religion), but was reinstated as a national holiday two years ago. It could be that the day has no meaning for people because no one has really celebrated it in over 60 years. It really is just a day off.

Or it could be that people simply don't get excited about holidays here. I got a similar response when I asked people what they do to celebrate Chinese New Year. Nothing, they said. Just stay at home. So that's what I did.

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