Photo Essay: Making Treats for the Tomb-Sweeping Festival (Qingming Jie)

This weekend it’s a holiday in China — The Tomb-Sweeping Festival (or Qingming Jie). And since I’ve caught the flu, I could use a short holiday from writing! So I’m sharing with you some photos from the holiday — specifically, some pictures of the process of making treats for the Tomb-Sweeping Festival. It’s a tradition here with my family in China. (Note – these pics are from 2014, when I actually helped the family make these turnovers.)


Those are qingming turnovers, which my Chinese mother-in-law makes every year for the holiday. They come in two colors — white and green.


What gives the green ones their color? This common plant, called mugwort:


She boils and pulverizes it, and then mixes the plant together with glutinous rice flour:


It’s amazing how a humble little plant can be transformed into the delicious beginnings of a turnover!


Then we roll them out into dough and start the filling process!


Some of them get filled with black bean paste, and are shaped using this lovely mold:


Some get filled with a savory mix of tofu, bamboo and pickled greens:


Either way, they make for a delicious holiday.

Wishing you all a happy Tomb-Sweeping Festival (Qingming Jie)!

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6 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Making Treats for the Tomb-Sweeping Festival (Qingming Jie)

  • April 4, 2016 at 9:00 am

    The only time I’ve heard of mugwort was during a visit to a Korean bath house. We were supposed to splash mugwort infused water over ourselves before entering the baths. Or maybe it was after we got out.

    I hope you’ll feel better soon. Take care.

    • April 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks for the comment Nicki! Yes, mugwort is actually great for bathing. I’ve used it in foot baths. It’s an incredibly useful little plant!

  • April 4, 2016 at 9:15 am

    After following your blog for a little while, all I can do is exclaim in amazement over
    how hardworking your MIL is!!! Does she ever slow down? Does she ever relax and take a break? Or is taking such good care of her family enough pleasure for her? She is a marvel.

    • April 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks for the comment Susan! I marvel at her efforts all the time — she is super hardworking.

  • April 5, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Very impressive, your MIL! And the mold is very intricate. Does a different filling go in the molded ones? Are they used for a different purpose?

    • April 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks Autumn! It’s a mold for making the turnovers filled with black bean paste. Those are made with the same green dough you saw in my MIL’s wok (with black bean paste folded into them).


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