Hong Kong Ching Ming Festival Holiday
Qingming or Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong is a special day for the Chinese community to remember their ancestors. The festival falls in the Chinese calendar’s 3rd lunar month every year. So, that makes it typically appear in the month of April (First week) in the Georgian calendar. Ching Ming festival is one of the largest events in China. The festival officially begins 104 days post the winter solstice. The festival generally starts on April 4 or April 5 every year. Then the activities can start at least 10 days before that. It is quite an ancient festival and dates back to approximately 2,500 years in Chinese history. The festival is also Tomb Sweeping Day, Clear Bright Festival, and Festival for Tending Graves.
|4 Apr 2020||Saturday||Ching Ming Festival|
|4 Apr 2021||Sunday*||Ching Ming Festival|
|5 Apr 2021||Monday||Ching Ming Festival|
|5 Apr 2022||Tuesday||Ching Ming Festival|
|4 Apr 2023||Wednesday||Ching Ming Festival|
|4 Apr 2024||Thursday||Ching Ming Festival|
|4 Apr 2025||Friday||Ching Ming Festival|
Note: Any holidays that fall on a Sunday will be replaced the following Monday.
How They Celebrate in Hong Kong
People in Hong Kong consciously avoid visiting the city’s cemeteries on most of the days in a year. However, that is not the case while they celebrate the Ching Ming Festival. The city’s public transport services have to run additional services. It is to manage the heavy traffic rush from the streets of Hong Kong to the hillside graves. When translated literally, Ching Ming means “clean and bright”. It is that day of the year when people of Hong Kong are sweeping their ancestors’ graves in the city. However, the process of tidying up just not ends there. The festival also needs Chinese families to weed these graves. They also do touch up to the headstone inscriptions, light incense, and offer food to their deceased ancestors.
What to Do During the Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong
Here are some of the ways how they celebrate the Ching Ming festival in the city of Hong Kong:
Families in Hong Kong Travel to Graveyards Together
It is the most crucial tradition for local families. They visit the gravesites, tombs, temples, or tablet locations of their deceased ancestors. Then they clean, as well as, maintain them. The cleaning procedure involves retouching the old and faded inscriptions, removing general dirt and weeds from those graves and so on. Hong Kongers love to take out time from their hectic schedules so that they can pay homage to their ancestors irrespective of how far the graveyards are from their homes.
Families Indulge in Traditional Rituals to Show Respect to Their Ancestors
At times, the festival is marked by more traditional rituals at the bigger gravesites in Hong Kong. Family members are seen placing auspicious food such as pastries, chicken, and pork at the headstones of their ancestors. The ritual is then followed by 3 cups of wine and 3 sets of chopsticks. The head of the family starts the next ritual by bowing thrice while holding a cup containing wine in his hand. He then pours this wine on the grave’s headstone. The same procedure is repeated by each member of the family 3 times. Several families even burn firecrackers, burn ghost money or fake paper money, and light incense and some families even go to the extent of sharing their meals to eat with their ancestors at the grave.
However, many modern families in Hong Kong today just visit their ancestors’ gravesites. They simply clean the site of their ancestors’ grave generally prior to burning ghost money and lighting incense sticks. Some family members even lay fresh flowers on the graves of their loved ones and thus pay homage to the departed souls on this auspicious occasion.
Families Burn a Lot of Items Today Apart From Fake Cash
Several people in the city of Hong Kong burn paper offerings on this day at the gravesites of their ancestors. It is a traditional belief that such offerings will be used by their ancestors in their afterlife. While the most common of these offerings are faux cash as mentioned earlier, things have changed a lot in recent years. Thanks to the increasing consumerism in the city, as well as, globally, today the Hong Kongers have also started burning paper replicas of electronic goods and appliances including laptops, mobile phones, luxury cars, air-conditioners, and refrigerators.
Many Chinese People in Hong Kong Fly Kites and Start Their Courting
These days, you will also come across some people who are not that traditional. These sections of the Hong Kongers do not visit the tombs of their ancestors on the auspicious occasion of Ching Ming. There are many people in Hong Kong who celebrate the day by flying colourful kites while many Chinese couples mark the start of their courtship on this day in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is not only the country to celebrate Ching Ming festival with much fanfare but they recognize and celebrate it all over the world by the local Chinese communities. Chinese living in different corners of the world use this festival to remember their deceased ancestors. They visit a local tomb in case one is available in the neighbourhood or spend it as a day of pure respect towards their ancestors. To conclude, it is highly interesting to note that the people living in the city of Hong Kong enjoy the maximum number of public holidays in the entire world.