“Qin Zhi,” also known as “Hanging Qin Paper” or “挂清纸,” is a type of paper with special significance. It is mainly used during the Qingming Festival, where people hang it on specific markers to express their nostalgia for deceased loved ones. The production and use of Qin Zhi follow certain customs and rules, playing an important role in family culture.
The history of Qin Zhi can be traced back to ancient times when people, in various ways, commemorated their departed relatives. Hanging Qin Paper is a traditional custom that has been passed down to the present day. There is an interesting legend about the origin of Hanging Qin Paper. During the Tang Dynasty, a scholar unable to sleep at night due to missing his deceased relatives wrote his feelings on a piece of paper. This paper, hung under the eaves, endured wind and rain, eventually becoming the “Qin Zhi.” People then began emulating this practice, using Hanging Qin Paper to express their feelings for departed loved ones.
Production and Materials of Qin Zhi
Qin Zhi is commonly made using handmade paper such as bark paper or straw paper. In the production process, three or five sheets of bark paper are folded twice according to specific specifications. Tools like a coin chisel are used to carve out patterns resembling ancient coins, and these papers are placed side by side. Some regions use alternative materials for Qin Zhi, such as cloth or silk. Different areas and families may have varying styles and techniques in the production of Qin Zhi.
Use and Customs of Qin Zhi
During the Qingming Festival, people visit the tombs of their deceased relatives and hang Qin Zhi. There are various ways to hang Qin Zhi; in some places, it is hung on tree branches near the graves, while in others, it is tied to the stone tablets in front of the tomb. During the hanging of Qin Zhi, people light incense and candles, burn paper money to show respect and express their feelings of nostalgia. Besides Qingming Festival, there are other occasions, such as the Ghost Festival, when Qin Zhi can also be hung.
When using Qin Zhi, certain customs and rules should be observed. Firstly, the quantity and color of Hanging Qin Paper should be chosen based on the number and gender of family members. Generally, if there are more family members, more papers are hung; otherwise, fewer papers are hung. Secondly, the Qin Zhi for daughters is usually colorful, and the daughters’ Qin Zhi is hung only for three years. Additionally, when hanging Qin Zhi, it should be protected from wind and rain to prevent damage. Lastly, a solemn and quiet atmosphere should be maintained during the hanging of Qin Zhi, avoiding loud noises or laughter.
Cultural Significance of Qin Zhi
Qin Zhi is not just a type of paper; it carries people’s feelings of nostalgia for their departed relatives. Through the traditional custom of hanging Qin Zhi, people can express respect and nostalgia for their loved ones while passing on family culture and history. For some elderly individuals, hanging Qin Zhi is one way to express their feelings of nostalgia for deceased relatives. In the fast-paced modern society, where people are busy with work and life, there is little time to accompany the elderly. Therefore, the traditional custom of hanging Qin Zhi should be inherited and promoted.
Changes and Inheritance in Modern Society
With the acceleration of social changes and modernization, some traditional customs and cultures are gradually disappearing. However, the tradition of hanging Qin Zhi is still being inherited and promoted in some places. In certain regions, the government or social organizations organize Hanging Qin Paper activities, allowing people to better understand the significance and value of this traditional custom. Additionally, some families or individuals spontaneously hang Qin Zhi at the graves of their deceased relatives to express their nostalgia.
In conclusion, “Hanging Qing” is a unique traditional custom of the Chinese nation, carrying profound cultural connotations and heritage. “Hanging Qing” is an activity for the living to express their nostalgia for deceased relatives, and the paper used for Hanging Qing is called “Qin Zhi.” The custom of “Hanging Qing” and the paper used in it, “Qin Zhi,” have specific customs and rules. As an important part of Chinese traditional culture, the custom of “Hanging Qing” not only embodies rich historical and cultural connotations but also conveys people’s nostalgia for their departed relatives. In today’s society, the custom of “Hanging Qing” still holds significant meaning and value. We should inherit and promote this traditional custom, allowing more people to understand its significance and value. At the same time, attention should be paid to environmental protection, respect for cultural heritage, and the maintenance of civilized rituals. Let us work together to ensure the continuation and flourishing of this excellent cultural heritage of “Hanging Qing.”
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