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8 Chinese phrases to know about Qingming Festival

Qingming Festival, Tomb-sweeping Day, learning Chinese

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. 清明 (qīng míng), the 5th solar term, starts this year on Apr 4 and ends on Apr 19.

传统中国阴历把一年分成二十四节气。清明是第五个节气,在今年将从4月4日开始,结束于4月19日。

The words "clear" and "bright" describe the weather during this period. Temperatures begin to rise and rainfall increases, making it a crucial time for plowing and sowing in the spring.

"清"、"明"两字描述了这一时段的天气。随着气温上升、雨水增加,这一时段对春天耕地和播种来说非常重要。

Here are 8 things you may not know about Qingming Festival.

以下是关于清明,你应该知道的八件事。

Worshiping Ancestors

祭祖 (jì zǔ)

Qingming Festival is a period in which Chinese people honor nature and the ancestors of the Chinese nation. The worship of nature and ancestors can be traced to ancient times, and still matters a lot in modern society.

清明期间,中国人有着敬拜自然和中华民族祖先的习惯。崇敬自然和祖先的传统可以追溯到远古时期,在当代社会仍然非常重要。

Cleaning the tombs and paying respect to the dead with offerings are the two important practices to remember late relatives. Weeds around the tomb are cleared away and fresh soil is added to show care for the dead.

扫墓和用贡品拜祭是怀念已故亲人的两项重要活动。人们清扫墓边的野草、添放新鲜的土壤,以示对去世先人的关心。

The dead person's favorite food, wine and chopsticks are offered on their tombs, along with paper money. These sacrifices are all burned in the hope that the deceased will not lack food and money in the afterlife.

中国人还会带着去世亲人最喜欢的食物、酒和筷子,放在他们的墓前,还有一些纸钱。人们烧掉贡品,希望去世的人在死后的生活中也不会缺食少钱。

Willow Branches

插柳 (chā liǔ)

Legend has it that Qingming Festival is one of three periods during the year in which ghosts come closest to the world of living men. Buddhists believe that willow branches will drive away unwelcome ghosts and evil spirits. Therefore, willow branches are also known as "ghost terror wood."

传说清明是一年之中鬼神最接近尘世生活中的人们的三个时期之一。佛教徒相信,柳枝将会赶走不受欢迎的鬼和邪灵。因此,柳枝也被称为"鬼怖木"。

Folk proverbs also dictate customs. One proverb states that if a young lady does not wear a willow branch during the Qingming Festival period, she will soon turn old. Another says: "If one does not wear a willow, he will become a yellow dog after he dies and is reincarnated."

民间谚语也有口口相传的风俗。俗谚说,"清明不戴柳,红颜成皓首",还有"清明不戴柳,死后便黄狗"。

Spring Outings

春游踏青 (chūn yóu tà qīng)

Not only is it a period for commemorating the dead, it is also time for people to go out and enjoy nature.

清明不仅是一个纪念故人的时段,也是人们外出并亲近自然的时光。

As trees turn green, flowers blossom, and the sun shines brightly, everything returns to life. It is a fine time to appreciate the beauty of nature. This custom can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476BC) and Warring States Period (475 – 221BC).

随着树木变绿、群花开放、春光明丽,万物都恢复了生机。这是欣赏自然之美的好时节。春游的风俗可以远溯至春秋时期(公元前770年——前476年)和战国时期(公元前475年——前221年)。

Strolling outside in spring adds joy to life and promotes a healthy body and mind.

在春天,出外游逛可以为生活增添愉悦,使身心更为健康。

Flying Kites

放风筝 (fàng fēng zheng)

Flying kites is an activity favored by many Chinese during Tomb-Sweeping Day. Kites are not only flown during the day time but also in the evening. Little lanterns are tied to the kite or to the kitestring. And when the kites are flying in the sky, the lanterns look like twinkling stars at night. What makes flying kites during this day special is that people cut the string while the kite is in the sky to let it fly free. It is said this brings good luck and that diseases can be chased away by doing this.

在清明节期间放风筝是深受许多中国人喜爱的活动。风筝不仅可以白天放,晚上也可以,把小型的灯笼系在风筝或风筝线上。当风筝飞于半空,灯笼看起来像是夜间一闪一闪的星星。这一天放风筝的特别之处在于,当风筝飞上天后,人们会剪掉风筝线。据说这样可以带来好运,赶走疾病。

Cold Food Festival

寒食节 (hán shí jié)

The Cold Food Festival or Hanshi Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated for one day before Tomb-Sweeping Day. On that day, making fire is taboo and only cold food is available.

寒食节是一个传统的中国节日,在清明节的前一或二日。这一天,禁烟火,只能吃冷食。

Legend has it that Prince Chong'er of the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn period, endured many hardships while he was exiled from his home state. Once, in order to help the prince who was tormented by hunger, Jie Zhitui cut off the flesh from his thigh and offered it to the prince for sustenance.

传说春秋时期,晋国的公子重耳在流亡在外,受尽屈辱。有一次,介子推为了救饿晕的重耳,从自己腿上割下了一块肉,用火烤熟了就送给重耳吃。

When Chong'er became Duke Wen of Jin, he was generous in rewarding those who had helped him in his time of need, he long passed over Jie, who had moved into the forest with his mother. Duke Wen went to the forest but could not find them. Duke Wen then ordered his men to set fire to the forest in order to force Jie out. When Jie and his mother were killed instead, the duke was overcome with remorse and ordered three days without fire to honor Jie's memory. 

当重耳成为了晋国的君主晋文公,他慷慨奖励那些曾经帮助过他的追随者,介子推也不例外。然而,介子推早已带着母亲隐居深山。晋文公前往山林寻找,求之不得,他便下令放火烧山,逼介子推出山。不幸的是,介子推母子因此被烧死。晋文公懊悔不已,命令每年介子推去世的那天严禁生火,只吃寒食,以此纪念介子推。

Cuju

蹴鞠 (cù jū)

Cuju is an interesting game played during this period. Ju is a ball made of leather with hairs plugged in it. Legend has it that the Yellow Emperor first invented it for training warriors. Later, Cu Ju was used by people to build up their bodies when they were unable to eat hot food during the Cold Food Festival.

蹴鞠是清明期间玩的一个有趣的游戏。鞠是一种外包皮革,内充毛发的球。传说黄帝为了训练战士而最早发明了它。后来,人们在寒食节无法吃热食时,就通过踢蹴鞠来强健体魄。

Eating Eggs

吃鸡蛋 (chī jī dàn)

In many parts of China, eating eggs during Tomb-Sweeping Day is as important as eating moon cakes at Mid-Autumn Festival. The Chinese folk belief is that eating an egg on Tomb-Sweeping Day will bring good health all year. In China, this custom has lasted for thousands of years.

在中国的许多地方,清明节吃鸡蛋就像中秋节吃月饼一样重要。中国民间相信,在清明节吃一个鸡蛋将会给一整年带来健康。在中国,这一传统延续了上千年。

The origin of eating eggs dates back to "Shangsi Jie". In ancient times, women who want to have babies after marriage often colored boiled eggs with different colors and put them into the river, and people living in the lower reaches of the river picked the eggs up and ate them. It was said that the more eggs were eaten, the greater the chance the woman will get pregnant. Today, people believe that eating eggs on Tomb-Sweeping Day will bring success.

吃鸡蛋的源头要追溯到"上巳节"。在古代,想要孩子的已婚女性通常将水煮蛋涂上不同的颜色,将它们投入河水中,而住在下游的人就捡起鸡蛋吃掉。据说越多鸡蛋被吃掉,女性怀孕的几率越大。今天,人们仍然相信在清明节吃鸡蛋将会带来成功。

Feasting on Qingtuan

吃青团 (chī qīng tuán)

In the lower reaches of the Yangtze River region, qingtuan or green cake is very popular snack on Tomb-Sweeping Day. Qingtuan is a kind of round green cake. In order to make the cakes, people mash barnyard grass to squeeze juice from it and mix the flour and juice to a paste. Then they inject black bean filling into the paste and steam them. Pretty and delicate, Qingtuan have a mellow taste and special flavor. Qingtuan are also sacrificed to ancestors on Tomb-Sweeping Day.

在长江的下游地区,青团是清明节一种非常受欢迎的小吃。青团是一种圆团团的油绿色点心。在制作这种蛋糕时,人们捣碎稗草来从中萃取汁液,与面粉混合成面团。然后把豆沙填进面团再上锅蒸。出炉后的青团好看又好吃,圆润柔和,味道独特。青团也会在清明节这一天被供奉给祖先。

The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source (info.chinlingo.com) for any use, reproduction or transfer. 

本文由Chinlingo编译后发布,如需转载,请标明来源:info.chinlingo.com.

2016-06-21

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