In the Metaverse, there is no Qingming Festival

What changes with the times is the way we remember the old

Author | Rice Cooker

Data Support | Pythagorean Big Data ( 

In the third year of the new crown era, the Chinese people ushered in the third Qingming Festival under the epidemic.

It may have been too long, so long that I forgot how to celebrate the Qingming Festival in the past, and there are only some flickering fragments left in my memory:

The white chrysanthemums wet by the rain,

There is mist on the lake,

The children were shouting with their kites in their arms.

And the sea of ​​people on the top of the mountain,

The pedestrian street at night, and the endless queue of milk tea shops

The pictures that I have personally experienced are so unfamiliar that they seem to belong to another person’s past. I wonder if the future generation born in the new crown era will listen to these stories with the same suspicion as we read history textbooks.

Are those people who call friends and friends, bask in the winding water by the Lanting Pavilion, bathe in the Yishui, or go to Xinghua Village to drink a pot of wine in the rain, do they really exist?

Yes, the deceased exist because of our commemoration, which is exactly the meaning given to Qingming Festival. In the same way, there will be people in the future who will commemorate us in different ways.

01 unchanged

Qingming Festival is essentially a sad but not sad festival, although it always rains these days.

This is because Qingming was only one of the 24 solar terms at the beginning. “On the fifteenth day after the spring equinox, if you fight against B, the Qingming wind will arrive.”

The real festival is actually the Cold Food Festival the day before Qingming Festival, which originated from Duke Wen of Jin’s commemoration of the minister Jie Zitui. It was not until the confluence of Cold Food and Qingming in Song and Yuan Dynasties that Qingming Festival officially replaced the former and became one of the most important traditional festivals of the Han nation.

From the perspective of origin, the Qingming Festival has carried three meanings since its birth.

The first is natural properties. During the Qingming Festival, when spring returns to the earth, and the grass grows and warblers fly, people often take advantage of these few days to go out for an outing, stretch their body and mind curled up in winter, and feel the breath of spring. Therefore, the Qingming Festival is also known as the Outing Festival and the March Festival.

The representative custom is 祓禊, that is, a ritual is held by the water to wash and remove dirt. “Orchid Pavilion Collection Preface” wrote, “At the beginning of late spring, I will meet at Lanting in Shanyin, Kuaiji, to repair things.” The Analects also said, “Mo Chun, the spring clothes are ready, the crown is five or six, and the boy is six or seven. People, bathed in Yi, the wind danced in Yuyu, chanted and returned.” This is what is recorded.

The second is social attributes. In the primitive society, fire is the top priority. Spring and March are the season of changing fire. Therefore, people are forbidden to make fire before the new fire arrives, and they need to prepare cooked food such as cakes in advance. This is the origin of the Cold Food Festival.

The Qingming Festival replaced the Cold Food Festival, so Cuju, swinging and polo were also popular during the festival. It was originally used to resist the stagnation of the stomach caused by cold food. Later, it was passed down from generation to generation and became one of the customs of Qingming.

Finally, and most importantly, is the spiritual attribute of Qingming Festival. On the second day after Jie Zitui’s death, the old willow tree he leaned on before his death came back to life and was given the name “Qingming Willow” by Duke Wen of Jin, and this day was designated as Qingming Festival.

Therefore, later on this day, people miss their deceased relatives and friends. Legend has it that the yin and yang worlds are briefly opened on the Qingming Festival, and the soul can return to the world to visit family members and former residences to relieve the pain of missing.

Therefore, the ancients invented the kite, and the living people put their condolences and nostalgia for the deceased in the little paper kite, and on this day they sent it to the undead floating in the world.

In the Metaverse, there is no Qingming Festival

Qing Yangliuqing painting “Ten Beautiful Pictures Flying Kite”

So for Chinese people, Qingming Festival is not a simple image. This day is both cold and bleak, used to remember relatives and friends; it is also lively and lively, used to invite friends to go out to play.

This is the unique aspect of Chinese philosophy: the mourning of the chasing after the end and the joy, tears and laughter of the outing, two seemingly contradictory emotions and forms, achieve a wonderful harmony on Qingming Festival.

This is the Confucian “sorrow but not sad”, and also the Taoist “chasing the qi and believing in harmony”. Together they constitute the underlying color of the Chinese nation’s character, which will never change.

The only thing that changes with the times is the way we remember our old friends.

02 Changed

From ancient times to the present, the unit of existence of the Chinese people has evolved from a clan to a family, and then to an isolated individual. The relationship between people is actually gradually weakened.

But in any case, birth, old age, sickness and death are unavoidable topics, so the Qingming Festival has never lost its meaning, but its activities are constantly changing.

Before the Qin Dynasty, there were no graves for Chinese people after they died.

“Book of Rites, Tan Gong Shang” records: “The ancients are also tombs but not tombs.” That is to say, there are no tombs.”Book of Rites” says: “Ancient burials are not sealed or trees.” There are no tombstones, and no trees are planted on them.

During the Spring and Autumn Period, the only sign appeared on the tombs of the ancients. “Spring and Autumn Weft” says: “The emperor’s grave is three meters high, and the trees are pine; half of the princes, the trees are cypress.”

Until this time, from the emperor to the Limin, there were no steles on the tombs. But that was indeed the period when the Chinese valued the dead the most, mainly in sacrificial activities.

The sacrificial activities in the pre-Qin period were mainly carried out in the ancestral temples. From the emperor, the princes to the doctor, there are systematic and programmatic customizations on the sacrificial personnel and sacrifices, which are very solemn and grand.

The common people are not qualified to build temples, and they dare not use them, nor can they bring any sacrifices for too prison or too little prison. On the Qingming Festival, they can just find a waterside, under a bridge, on the top of a mountain, or on the ridge to pray. That’s all.

After the Han Dynasty, the ritual of worshiping ancestors gradually evolved into a way we are familiar with.Whether a big family or a large family plots a piece of Feng Shui treasure land, or a poor family builds a few earthen buns in the fields, there are ancestral graves, the only difference is whether it can emit green smoke or not.

As for the activities of the Qingming Festival, a fixed system is gradually formed. First, remove weeds and rocks, and then check whether the stone tablet is damaged and whether the graves need to be filled with soil. Then put offerings, incense and burn paper money, and finally kneel and worship.

Although this procedure is very different from the previous one, the main idea has not changed. From burning wood in ancient times, burning mugwort leaves in the pre-Qin period, to burning incense after the introduction of Buddhism in the Han Dynasty, the ancestors’ souls enjoyed the aroma on the Qingming Festival.

We collectively refer to these ideas as superstitions. After the eradication of feudal superstitions in the new era, the mainstream activities of Qingming Festival have changed again.

Materially, due to environmental protection, there are fewer people who burn incense and paper money, usually offering flowers; spiritually, there are fewer people who kneel and worship. Whether it is tomb-sweeping or silent mourning, it is mainly due to the unilateral psychological activities of the living, which can be said to be a return to nature.

The most important reform was cremation. On the one hand, old customs can be broken, and on the other hand, pollution can be reduced and cultivated land can be saved from a scientific point of view. However, the reform is not complete, and there are still hidden dangers, such as the increasingly outrageous “cemetery real estate” industry. (Click to read the old article “Absurd “Grave Estate”)

To this day, the spiritual attributes of Qingming Festival are still being kidnapped by material activities. Fortunately, reforms are still in progress, and changes will continue.

03 Newborn

On the Tomb-sweeping Day in 2020, the State Council decided to hold a national mourning event to express the deep condolences of the people of all ethnic groups in the country for the sacrifice of martyrs and deceased compatriots in the fight against the new crown pneumonia epidemic.

Therefore, from 10:00 on April 4, people across the country observed a 3-minute silence, the consulate lowered its flag at half-staff, cars, trains, and ships honked their horns, and air defense sirens sounded.

In the post-epidemic era, as a metaphysical activity, the Qingming Festival Spring Festival is becoming more and more widely recognized.

However, from pyramids to office buildings, whether land or real estate, it is a waste of resources to store ashes. Knowing this truth, people still flock to it, probably because souls who lack faith have nowhere to rest and need to find a place to stay.

However, with the development of society, people finally found a near-perfect solution for this contradiction.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, a new activity has emerged on Qingming Festival. Last month, the Ministry of Civil Affairs held a teleconference on the 2022 Qingming Festival sacrifice sweeping work, calling on all localities to vigorously promote civilized and low-carbon sacrifice sweeping methods, which focused on online sacrifice sweeping.

Young people are certainly no strangers to the sweeping method of “cloud sacrifice sweeping”, which is similar to “cloud sacrificing new year”. The online sacrifice and sweeping platforms of major cemeteries have long put on the shelves a wealth of sacrifices, one-click “burning” paper money, and you can also buy kowtow emoji packs.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t buy a cemetery or cemetery. Now there is a service for establishing an “online memorial hall”. A link is sent to the family group, and it arrives in minutes, which is much faster than offline tomb sweeping.

Will “Internet Grave Real Estate” form a new outlet? It is very likely, after all, the real estate speculation in the Metaverse is not news for a long time.

Last year, a piece of digital land in the “Distributed Continent” in the United States was sold for US$2.43 million, or about RMB 27,000 per square meter, which has caught up with the housing prices of second-tier cities. Lin Junjie also spent 780,000 yuan on this website to buy three pieces of virtual land.

If the “parallel world” of Shenzhen Longgang Wanda Plaza’s digital twin is a small test, the Hong Kong real estate giant New World Group spent 32 million yuan to invest in land on The Sandbox, but it is real.

Really being able to spend the Qingming Festival in the Metaverse is definitely another experience. Musk said a few days ago that he would download human consciousness to the robot body, which sounds unreliable, but it is not difficult to save the image data of his life.

In the Metaverse, there is no Qingming Festival

‘Ready Player One’ recreates childhood scenes of dead people

No one doubts that worship in the digital world will be more colorful than burning incense and offering flowers to cold stone tablets and black-and-white photos. It’s just that at that time, the little “ceremonial sense” left in the Qingming Festival today will be further weakened.

But this is normal. From the pre-Qin period to the present, the way of worship on Qingming Festival has been developing in a more and more simplified direction.

What cannot be simplified is the emotion and hope that transcends life and death.

04 Conclusion

It’s not just the way we spend Ching Ming that has been changing in a slow and profound way over thousands of years.

For example, marriage, in the past, men and women became a family under the witness of heaven and earth and their relatives. Later, it became a contract based on the law. Today there is no need for even the law, and marriage and childbirth are no longer necessary.

Changes in ideas come from the evolution of productivity and production methods. At the same time, the emergence ofnew things is always accompanied by the demise of old things. As long as the earth does not stop turning, human beings have to trudge on the road of evolution, and change will never stop.

Fortunately, before everything changes beyond recognition, we can stop briefly on Qingming Festival to remember and miss those who are worth remembering.

This is probably the most desolate and soft place in the Chinese spiritual homeland.

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