The custom in Spring Equinox-Feria de Abril  


In February of the traditional Chinese calendar, Chinese people engage in the practice of sweeping graves and worshipping ancestors, which is also called Feria de Abril.

When it comes to the practice on gala, we could start off with Ritan, which was established in 1530. Located outside Chaoyang Men, it served as the place where members of the imperial family in the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped their ancestors.

People sweep graves until a grand ceremony has been finished, in which people butcher pigs and sheep and make a sacrifice of three gifts under the guidance of the ritual master, who gives a eulogy, with drummers playing wind instruments. Then the practice of sweeping the graves begins. The first part is sweeping graves of the earliest and remote ancestors. It requires all the people in the tribe and the village to join in. Usually, the line is quite long, with hundreds of or even a thousand people in it. Then people are separated to make sacrifices to their own particular ancestors. In the end, everyone visits the graves of dead family members. The period in which most of the Hakkas worship ancestors and sweep graves continues from the Spring Equinox or even earlier until the Qingming Festival. It is believed that the invisible grave gate will be closed when the Qingming Festival has passed. Therefore, ancestors cannot enjoy the good fortune brought by their descendants.


Translated by Hou Zheng


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