The Cold Food Festival

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The Cold Food Festival (寒食节)

The Cold Food Festival (寒食节) is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated for three consecutive days starting the day before Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day), which usually falls around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar. Although the tradition is not popular today, it has a long history that can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC).

According to legend, a man named Jie Zhitui cut the flesh off his thigh to feed the a starving Prince Chong'er who was fleeing the Jin Kingdom. A few years later, when Prince Chong'er ascended the throne, he remembered Jie and tried to find him. Jie led a reclusive life with his mother on a remote mountain and refused the prince's invitation. Prince Chong'er set the whole mountain on fire to force Jie to make his appearance, but Jie chose to burn to death with his mother than flee out of the mountain to see the prince. Filled with remorse, Prince Chong'er ordered the whole state to stop setting fire for three days, so only cold food could be, and was allowed to be, served to commemorate his chivalric savior.

The Cold Food Festival is also celebrated in Korea and Vietnam.

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