Qingming: Qi is clear, scenery is bright, and the mind is nourished

Qingming: Qi is clear, scenery is bright, and the mind is nourished

“The pear blossoms are blowing in the wind during the Qingming Festival, and wanderers are half out of the city in search of spring.” With the flying pear blossoms, the Qingming Festival is just around the corner. “All things growing at this time are clean and bright, so it is called Qingming.” At this season, the sun is shining brightly, the vegetation is blooming, and the flowers are fragrant.

It’s both a solar term and a festival

On April 4 this year, when the sun reaches 15 degrees of ecliptic longitude, the fifth solar term of the twenty-four solar terms – Qingming arrives.

Among the twenty-four solar terms, Qingming is the only one that is both a solar term and a festival. Solar terms are signs of time, and festivals contain certain customs and commemorative meanings.

“The swallows come when Xinshe comes, and the pear blossoms lag behind Qingming.” This is Qingming as a solar term. The Qingming solar term falls at the turn of mid-spring and late spring. The festival time generally varies between April 4 and April 6 in the Gregorian calendar, with April 5 being the most common. The ancients divided the Qingming Festival into three periods: the first period is when tung trees begin to bloom; the second period is when voles turn into flowers; and the third period is when rainbows begin to appear. Five days after the Qingming solar term, the white tung flowers bloom, and the fragrance is pleasant and fragrant. On the fifth day, the field mice hide in their caves due to the increasing scorching sun, and there are more quail birds that love the warmth of the sun. The yin energy is latent and the yang energy is getting stronger; on the fifth day, a rainbow can often be seen in the sky after the rain. At this time of year, the sky is clear and the air is clear, the fresh green is lush, the delicate pistils are fragrant, and the spring scenery is bright. As the saying goes, “Before and after the Qingming Festival, sow melons and beans.” This is a good time for spring plowing and spring planting. Dry farming in the north and early and mid-season rice in the south of the Yangtze River have entered the suitable season for large-scale sowing. Farmers have rolled up their sleeves, rolled up their trouser legs, and went to the fields. In order to sow the seeds when the weather is clear, there is a busy scene of spring plowing everywhere in the north and south of the Yangtze River.

“It rains heavily during the Qingming Festival, and pedestrians on the road feel like they are dying.” This is Qingming as a festival. Qingming, along with Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, are known as the four major traditional festivals in China, which shows its importance in the hearts of Chinese people. Tomb-Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese sacrificial festival. It is a cultural tradition for the Chinese nation to pay homage to their ancestors and pursue their future with caution. “A glass of apricot blossom wine fills the cup with thoughts of old friends.” Adding a piece of new soil to the ancestors, offering a new branch, pouring a glass of water and wine, and expressing one’s condolences is a unique way for Chinese people to offer sacrifices. “Miscellaneous Notes of the Year” once recorded the grand occasion of ancient people worshiping their ancestors: “People in the north used this day to sweep and worship their ancestors’ tombs, and the moon was endless.” “Mengliang Lu” records: During the Qingming Festival, “officials and common people all go out to the suburbs to scan tombs. To express our respect when we think of you.” To this day, during the Qingming Festival, people not only pay homage to their deceased relatives, but also commemorate the heroes, pay tribute to the heroes, remember the ancestors, and appreciate the spirit in various forms. The Qingming Festival entrusts people’s grief and also carries It plays an important role in enhancing national cohesion and identity.

In fact, “Qingming” was originally just the name of a solar term. Over the course of thousands of years of history, Qingming has integrated the contents of the Cold Food Festival and the Shangsi Festival, blending various folk customs from many places into one. The Cold Food Festival is usually held one or two days before the Qingming Festival. On this day, people abstain from fireworks, eat cold food, and visit tombs and worship ancestors. The Shangsi Festival is commonly known as “March 3”. On this day, people go to the water to bathe in groups, with the intention of washing away the years’ troubles. To eliminate bad luck and eliminate bad luck, it is called fú xì. Since Shangsi, Hanshi and Qingming are close in time, after the Tang and Song Dynasties, the Qingming Festival gradually merged with festival customs such as cold food sacrifices and Shangsi spring outings, which have been passed down to this day.

Tomb-Sweeping Day is a traditional festival for mourning and an opportunity to express grief. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that worshiping during the Qingming Festival and remembering the deceased can help release emotions, eliminate bad emotions, and promote mental health. However, for those who have lost a loved one, it is easy to be emotionally distressed at this time, especially the elderly, who may have greater mood swings. Family members should spend more time with them to help the elderly relax their emotions, and avoid excessive grief, so as not to affect their physical and mental health.

Go on a spring outing, break willow trees and pray for blessings

Qingming is a solemn festival for sweeping tombs and worshiping ancestors, but it is also a joyful festival for people to get close to nature and go out for fun. Combining sacrifices and play shows the rich connotation of Qingming – the living and the dead, sadness and joy, which seem to be contradictory, but are harmoniously unified at this time, showing that Qingming “remembers the ancestors and does not forget the living” “The essence of.

The “Scenery of the Imperial Capital” of the Ming Dynasty recorded the situation in which sacrifices and outings go hand in hand: “On the Qingming Day in March, men and women sweep tombs, worshipers, mourners, and weepers… After crying, they do not return, and they go to the fragrant trees, choose a garden, and line up. Sit down and get drunk.” In ancient times, after people cried and offered sacrifices in front of the tomb, they found a good place, set out wine and food for a picnic, drank and enjoyed the spring, and even got drunk. In the eyes of the ancients, offering sacrifices to the deceased is a way of comforting the deceased, while outings are the beauty of the living. Living towards death is the only way to achieve Qingming.

Bai Juyi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty, said, “If you don’t play in spring, you may be a fool.” During the Qingming Festival, the wind is gentle and all things are prosperous. On such a spring day, people gather with their friends, old and young, or men and women, to wander in the spring breeze, go to the wilderness together, get close to the earth, return to nature, and embrace spring.

As early as the Tang and Song Dynasties, people loved spring outings. “If you go to the forest and the flowers are blooming, you will be looking at the flowers when you go out.” Yang Juyuan, a poet of the Tang Dynasty, described the hot scene of spring outings at that time; Cheng Hao of the Song Dynasty said in “A Trip to the Suburbs”: “It is the Qingming Festival When the weather is good, you might as well travel without forgetting to return.” It reminds people not to be happy and forget to return.

“Suddenly I saw willows planted in every house, and I realized that today was the Qingming Festival.” “If you don’t wear willows during the Qingming Festival, you will have a beautiful head.” “Weeping willows are planted everywhere during the Qingming Festival, and the courtyards are deeply green.” In ancient times, it was popular to collect flowers and plants during Qingming outings. They are often placed on doors and heads, especially willow branches. “Miscellaneous Notes of the Year” records the custom of the Song Dynasty: “Every family breaks willows and inserts them on the door, especially in the Jianghuai River. There is no house without them.” Since ancient times, willow branches have been regarded as a symbol of exorcising evil spirits. People worship ancestors and sweep tombs during the Qingming Festival. It is believed that evil spirits will appear. To prevent evil spirits from invading, people choose to plant willows in their homes and wear willows on their heads. Willow is a beautiful tree that is in season in spring. It is the first to get the spring energy. It is a symbol of the power of life. Willow trees were generally planted in ancient cemeteries. Because there were too many people sweeping tombs and breaking willows, a Song Dynasty poet advised, “Don’t break all the green leaves. There will be more people leaving the city in the Ming Dynasty.”

In addition to outings and outings, there are a series of folk customs and spring outing activities across the country such as tug-of-war, swinging, playing polo, tree planting, cockfighting, and kite flying. In fact, these folk customs and spring outing activities are in line with the health care principles of traditional Chinese medicine to some extent. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that all things grow during the Qingming Festival and Yang Qi rises. The human body should rely on this natural characteristic to focus on nourishing Yang. The key to nourishing Yang is to be “moving” and avoid “quietness”. Outing in the countryside in spring can soothe and relax the meridians of the human body, achieving the effect of relaxing the muscles and activating the meridians; walking in the beautiful nature can make people reduce stress, calm the mind, slow down the heartbeat and breathing, and have good effects on the heart and lungs. It is of great benefit; outdoor walking, outing and other activities are relatively gentle, which can purify the heart, smooth the mood, and nourish the mind. It helps the body’s liver qi to relax, the yang qi to grow, and the liver to open the eyes. The stronger the liver qi, the clearer the eyes will be. .

Eat cold meals and eat them in moderation

In addition to offering sacrifices, outings and planting willows, there is also the custom of eating cold food during the Qingming Festival. Cold food generally refers to cold food that can be eaten without making a fire. In ancient times, when people offered sacrifices to their ancestors, they would make some cakes and eat them after the sacrifice. Later, various places gradually formed their own customs. Today, some places still retain the habit of eating cold food during the Qingming Festival. For example, Tai’an, Shandong Province, eats cold pancakes rolled with raw bitter vegetables. It is said that eating it can make the eyes bright. In the north, cold food includes steamed noodles, steamed buns, etc., while in the south of the Yangtze River, cold food usually includes Qingtuan and Ai Qing dumplings.

“In March, there is cold food and Qingming Festival, and the swallows fill the jujube forest in Ge.” In Shanxi and other places, the popular festival food “Hanyan’er” is popular around the Qingming Festival. It is made of white flour and is made into small swallows, decorated with sorghum grains. The swallows hold a “green willow branch” in their mouths, which is lifelike. “Han Yan’er” is also called “Zitui Yan”, which originated from the folk legend of “Jie Zitui pushed Mianshan and burned himself” in the Spring and Autumn Period. People used it to pay homage to their ancestors when sweeping their graves to express their remembrance. At the same time, “Han Yan’er” also means welcoming the spring and receiving good fortune. Its mouth opens upward, which means it will pick up all the children’s illnesses.

In the south, Qingtuan dumplings and various kinds of cakes and cakes are popular. Regardless of whether the fillings are meat or vegetarian, the appearance is dyed green with mugwort, etc., which corresponds to the “qing” of Qingming Festival. Qingtuan, also called Qingming fruit, was used for sacrifices in ancient times, but now it has become a seasonal snack in spring. For thousands of years, the appearance of the Youth League has remained unchanged. Every Qingming Festival, many families in the south of the Yangtze River make green dumplings, cutting mugwort, boiling, pounding, mixing with flour, stuffing, and steaming… As a “spring limited edition”, the green dumplings are as green as jade, with a light plant aroma. After steaming, it is fragrant and glutinous and delicious. Some people say that it is “kneading spring into the powder and eating it into the stomach.”

From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, eating cold food during Qingming Festival is helpful to regulate the balance of yin and yang in the body. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that due to the continuous rise of Yang Qi in spring, it is easy for Liver Qi to be strong and Yin Qi to be insufficient during the Qingming Festival. People with Yin deficiency constitutions are prone to headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and other discomforts. At this time, eating cold food can help. It is used to prevent liver qi from rising too much, but not everyone is suitable for eating cold food. Take Qingtuan as an example. The main ingredient of Qingtuan is glutinous rice, which is relatively difficult to digest. For people with weak stomachs, eating cold Qingtuan is not conducive to digestion and absorption and can easily damage the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, many people now add meat fillings when making green dumplings, which will also increase the burden on the gastrointestinal tract. The temperature changes greatly in most parts of the country during the Qingming Festival, and the human gastrointestinal tract is relatively sensitive, especially for those with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers. Eating more cold food may cause diseases. Therefore, you should eat less cold food before and after Qingming Festival, especially for young people. It is best to heat food like this before eating it to avoid damaging the intestines and stomach.

Traditional Chinese medicine recommends that during the Qingming Festival, the diet should also follow the principle of “not eating at any time”, that is, eat more seasonal vegetables, such as leeks, shepherd’s purse, Chinese toon, spinach, kale, celery, etc., and also eat some appropriate foods such as red dates, wolfberry, Soy products and other foods that nourish the blood and nourish the liver. During outings and rituals, drink plenty of water. After Qingming Festival, in late spring, the temperature rises, the human body’s yang energy rises and spreads out, and the movement of qi and blood fluctuates greatly. Therefore, you should be careful about eating “fat foods” to avoid inducing old illnesses or allergic diseases.

It’s the Qingming Festival again, and the willows are still expressing the feeling of spring. April is the most beautiful day in the world. May we enjoy the warm spring sunshine and beautiful spring scenery.

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