This past week we had “three” days off for Tomb Sweeping Festival, or Qingming. I say “three” because in China, this means you get Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off, but have to work Saturday. Unfortunate, but I got through it and headed out on Sunday morning to an old Ming village called Cuandixia.

Similar to Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, Qingming is a time to celebrate your ancestors and tend to their graves. In both celebrations, people visit family gravesites, leaving personalized offerings of food, alcohol, cigarettes and (fake) money. In Mexico, the November celebration manifests itself in an all out street fiesta, while in China, those who observe Qingming keep their celebrations intimate.Apparently kite-flying and “camping” on the side of the highway are also popular ways to celebrate your ancestors. Who knew.

Decorated graves during Qingming (right) and Dia de los Muertos (left, Valerie Kreutzer)

At the start of the trip, we channeled Cirque de Soileil to fit around a multitude of luggage on the crowded subway, and successfully chased down a bus that would take us to our destination. After literally piling onto the bus, alas, there were no seats, and we stood/squatted for almost the entire the two and half hour trip.

Upon arrival, we got a ride into town only to discover that it was packed and therefore offered no place to stay. (Yes, I still have not come to terms with the fact that no matter where you go in China, there will always be a lot of people.) Luckily, for a price, our savvy driver offered to take us to the next town, so as darkness approached we scoured Zhaitang village, eventually finding a nice family who took us in. They not only offered heated beds, but also baijiu, beer delivery, and delicious food. Twas a great night.

The next morning we said our goodbyes after a breakfast of champions and congee, and set out for some hiking. We took in the great views, eased our developing sunburns with lunch, and later caught a (seated) ride back to Beijing.

3 Responses to “Cuandixia”
  1. I am heading out to Cuandixia in a few days. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • 3rdCultureKidBetweenWorlds says:

      I’m happy they were of use to you! Enjoy your trip – I hear outside of government holidays, Cuandixia is even more fun, and hotels much easier to secure.

  2. 3rdCultureKidBetweenWorlds says:

    Hey guys, If you’re interested in reading more “how to” points on visiting Cuandixia, this post has been re-purposed here:

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