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QingMing Festival

March 30 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Did you know that Santa Cruz had five chinatowns?
Did you know that in 1850 Santa Cruz had only 1 Chinese resident?

How about……
Do you know what the QingMing Festival is?

Literally, the QingMing Festival means “Pure Brightness Festival”, but in modern times the QingMing Festival has become better known as the “Tomb Sweeping Festival.” It is a traditional Chinese festival that occurs on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional lunar calendar. This makes it fall on the fifteenth day after the spring equinox, which is either the 4, 5, or 6th of April depending on the year. This year, the QingMing Festival will be on April 4.

The QingMing Festival is celebrated by families visiting the gravesites of their ancestors and cleaning the tombs by clearing away weeds and leaves and adding new dirt or trimming grass. It is also a time to make ritual offerings for the deceased. These offerings include flowers, money, and of course food. The food is prepared boiled and in advance and is eaten cold on the day of the festival. It is also common to place willow branches on gates and front doors to ward off

evil spirits. Joss sticks of incense is used to ward off any bad spirits, and fake money is burned to honor the ghosts of the dead ancestors.

The QingMing Festival is observed in countries around the world too. In Vietnam, they sweep tombs, have spring outings, and eat cold food. In Singapore, they also set out food and drink for their ancestor’s ghosts. However, they make sacrifices to the God of soil and ground too. In South Korea they clean tombs, but don’t burn money. In Japan, they celebrate the Bon Festival which pays homage to their ancestors and celebrates family. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead honors lost loved ones with cleaning the gravesites and sharing food and drink.

We will be honoring our Chinese pioneers who settled Santa Cruz by cleaning the gravesites and providing them food, drink, and paper money during the QingMing Festival. In traditional Chinese culture, the food and paper money is given early, before noon, so the ghosts will be well-fed and satisfied when the actual festival begins. So we will be walking from the Chinatown Dragon Gate to Evergreen Cemetery on March 30, 2024 at 10:00 am. Come join the event and share some local Santa Cruz history.

By Flex Kids Culture Team

Flex Kids Culture is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN: 84-5049195) based in Santa Cruz County that seeks to enhance connections between communities in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and Asia through the development of specific cultural and academic programs and events. https://www.flexkids.org/


March 30
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Downtown Santa Cruz
155 River Street
Santa Cruz, 95060 United States
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