Apr 5, 2010

Easter, Passover and Qing Ming

I always believe, festivals in human societies are directly related to natural phenomena. No matter what religion or culture background a society has, the holidays and festivals are not independent from its natural environment.

For example, Easter and Passover, in my eyes, are very similar to Qing Ming in Asian societies, although Easter and Passover came from religion history while Qing Ming is largely rooted in agriculture history. They have totally different stories for their origins. But all of them, to certain degree, are about respecting the deceased and acknowledging life from death. And early spring is just so right for both of them. Qing Ming is always April 4th or 5th on western calendar. Easter and Passover may be a little earlier or later, and this year Qing Ming is right on Easter Monday.

Qing Ming, in Chinese, means clear and bright, or to be more specific, Tian (heavens) Qing (clear) Di (earth) Ming (bright) - The heavens are clear and the Earth is bright. Exactly how it feels at this time of the year. In most of Chinese climate belts, there is often shower or drizzling on or around the day of Qing Ming. After that, Spring comes with a lot of sunshine. Climate in North America is quite different from that in China. But still, in New England, April showers bring May flowers!

A list of Chinese festivals on western calendar is here.

In my opinion, other connections between holidays across cultures include:

Christmas -- Winter Solstice (To me, this is the most hopeful time of a year, when you know day time starts to get longer!)

Thanksgiving -- Moon Festival (not exactly the same time period, but the idea is, people need a festival after autumn harvest!)

In Tea Calendar, it's not coincidence that most early spring teas are green, white or yellow teas. As we know, all tea varieties are made with leaves from different cultivar of the same species. The light or none oxidation tea varieties have flavors most people yearn for in this season. Besides, according to traditional Chinese medical theories, Spring is the season of waking up, growth, activities and rising of warmth. Light oxidation teas have the most de-oxidants and relatively higher caffein contents (this is based on view of most Chinese tea professionals and may not be consistent with results of chemical analysis of all tea products), which yield energizing power. Meantime, these teas are what people believe to cool down and balance the "inner fire" in one's body.

1 comment:

Marlena said...

I have always felt that the early flowers and leaves are yellow or yellowish to cheer us after gray and white of winter.