Qing Ming literally meaning clear and bright, falls in
early spring (106th day after the winter solstice). This
is a period to remember, honour and pay respect to one's
deceased ancestors and family members. It reinforces
filial piety in the Chinese community by making a special
effort to visit the grave, columbarium or temple to pay
In 600 B.C. in Shanxi province, lived a man by the name of
‘Jie Zi Dui’. He saved his lord's life by
serving him with a piece of flesh from his own leg when
they were in the wild. Later the lord became the
ruler of a small principality, he invited Jie to join him.
However, Jie declined his offer, preferring to lead a
quiet and private life with his mother in the mountains.
The lord thought that maybe by burning the mountain could
force Jie out. Hence he ordered his men to set fire.
To his surprise, Jie remained there and was burnt to
To commemorate Jie, the lord ordered all fires to be put
out on Jie's death anniversary. Therefore began the
"cold food feast" because no food could be cook
since no fire could be lit. The "cold food"
festival takes place on the eve of Qing Ming and is
considered part of the festival. However,
Singaporeans do not practice the ‘putting out the