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Cheng Beng (Qinming) Festival 2016 in Medan, North Sumatra

Following the festivities of Imlek, marking the start of Chinese New Year celebrations, which closes fifteen days later with the Cap Goh Meh, the Chinese ethnic group in Medan,capital of North Sumatra Province will then hold the Cheng Beng Festival from 25th to 27th March 2016. The festival, which is also known as Qingming (Qingming Jie) will be centered at the Tjong Yong Hien Flower Park on Kejaksaan Street and is scheduled to be held daily from 14.00 hrs. to 21.00 hrs. West Indonesia Time.

Here the event will be highlighted with 4 main features, being : the Tjong Yong Hien Legacies Exhibition, Harp Playing Competition, a Painting Exhibition, and a Culinary Bazaar.

Qingming or better known in Indonesia as the Cheng Beng festival is the time when the Chinese ethnic group pays homage to their ancestors by cleaning their graves and praying for them. Therefore, the festival is also known simply as Grave Cleaning Day, which takes place annually on the first day of the fifth solar term on the Chinese lunar  calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox. Qingming is one of the 24 solar terms in the calendar, indicating the coming of late spring, therefore, the best time for farmers to plow and plant.

The Qingming festival is an opportunity to remember and honor ancestors at their grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, clean and sweep graves and tombs, offering food, tea, wine, chopsticks, and joss paper accessories, and/or libation for their ancestors. The joss paper items, known locally as Gincua, are then placed near the tomb as symbol and offering in return for goodness bestowed upon them by the ancestors, besides marking the graves that have been visited by pilgrims.