The Cold Food Festival

The Cold Food Festival
 
As the Pure Brightness (Qingming) Festival draws near, qingtuan ("green cake") is re-appearing on shop shelves in Shanghai and other regions in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. This snack, made of rice, black bean paste and barnyard grass, is popular at this time of the year, though few are aware that it is a survivor of a forgotten festival - the Cold Food Festival (Hanshi Jie). According to tradition, the Cold Food Festival starts today-one day before the Pure Brightness Festival. It lasts for three days, during which people abstain from making a fire and instead eat cold food prepared in advance.
 
The custom of eating cold food and can be traced to more than 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, when Chinese people followed a custom called "fire change". They believed that old firewood had to be put out with, and replaced, by new firewood to start a new year, or there would be bad luck. Hence, they prepared foods that did not need to be heated before eating, when the old fire was put out.
 
The Cold Food Festival had been an important festival before the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). Then it began to decline, until it virtually disappeared in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Today, the Cold Food Festival did not vanish, but became assimilated into the Pure Brightness Festival. In some parts of China, the Pure Brightness Festival is also called the Cold Food Festival.
 
Source: www.china.org.cn