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Tomb Sweeping Festival



Tomb-sweeping Day or Festival, a public holiday on the fifth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, is one of the most important festivals in China. As the name implies, it is the day for cleaning up ancestral tombs(祖墳). Graveyards are located on hillsides away from the city, and grass is often allowed to grow luxuriantly(茂盛地) for most of the year - hence the necessity to cut it all down at yearly intervals(一年一次). Additionally, offerings of food and drink(祭品) are placed in front of tombs - typically fruit, meat, flowers, and so on. Then the family gather to pray while paper 'ghost money' is being burned.

Another important Tomb-sweeping Day tradition is the placing of paper on the tombs. The people believe the tomb to be the residing place of the deceased's spirit, and placing the paper on the tombs is equivalent to putting new tiles() on the roof of a house. The paper is held down with small stones so that the paper will not be swept away by the wind.