The inauspicious type of incense that brings luck but is considered a taboo when burning on the Qingming Festival: Unknown to many

There is a type of fruit that is used for worshipping but should be avoided when paying respects to ancestors on the Qingming Festival, do you know what kind of fruit it is?

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A beautiful tradition preserved and passed down through many generations of Vietnamese people is Tet Thanh Minh. During this occasion, people go to the cemetery to show their sincere respect to their ancestors, grandparents, and those who have passed away. However, many people do not know which fruit is used to light incense but needs special caution when going to the cemetery during Tet Thanh Minh. What kind of fruit is it?

When does Tet Thanh Minh 2024 take place?

Tet Thanh Minh is one of the 24 solar terms. This solar term is based on the beliefs of Eastern countries.

Literally, “thanh” means bright and “minh” means clear. Tet Thanh Minh means a cool and clear sky. Tet Thanh Minh is the 5th solar term out of 24, starting after the 45th day of the spring equinox and after the 105th day of the winter solstice.

Tet Thanh Minh lasts for about 15-16 days, and the first day is called Tet Thanh Minh. In 2024, Tet Thanh Minh will fall on April 4th (February 26th on the lunar calendar), after the end of the spring equinox and lasting until April 20th.

In 2024, Tet Thanh Minh will fall on April 4th (February 26th on the lunar calendar)

Tet Thanh Minh tomb-sweeping tradition

Tet Thanh Minh is a time when the weather is pleasant, bright, and the air is cool and comfortable. This is also a suitable time to remember ancestors and deceased relatives by renovating their tombs.

Usually, one day before Tet Thanh Minh, families prepare for the tomb-sweeping ceremony with incense, lights, fruits, flowers, and salty food. On the day of Tet Thanh Minh, people bring shovels and hoes to the cemetery to fill the grave with soil, clear away weeds and bushes that cover the grave, and prevent snakes, mice from making nests or attracting cows and buffalos to disturb or disrupt the spirits of the deceased.

Avoid bringing bananas when tomb-sweeping during Tet Thanh Minh

In the ancestral worship culture of many Vietnamese people, bananas are considered fruit with the ability to attract and protect other fruits in the altar of five fruits. Bananas are like hands that support and shelter. Worshipping bananas is to pray for blessings and a peaceful and happy family. However, bananas should not be brought to light incense outside the cemetery. This is because bananas have the ability to attract, so they can bring wandering souls back home.

During Tet Thanh Minh, the cemetery is crowded, the atmosphere is heavy, and there are many lost souls without relatives to worship and accompany them, feeling lonely and abandoned. So if bananas are brought to the cemetery, they may lead the way for wandering souls. As a result, negative energy and spirits may be brought home, affecting the positive energy of family members. Especially if there are young children or weak elderly people in the house, the negative energy may make them scared and cause illness, making it difficult for the household to thrive. Therefore, parents and grandparents advise not to bring bananas to avoid attracting wandering spirits.

What preparations are needed for Tet Thanh Minh worship?

Avoid bringing bananas when tomb-sweeping during Tet Thanh Minh

Depending on the customs of each locality, the Tet Thanh Minh worship tray will differ, but mainly includes a tray of offerings to ancestors. Tet Thanh Minh offerings usually include sticky rice, chicken, rice, bamboo shoot soup, stir-fried glass noodles, betel leaves, fruits, gold coins, flowers, incense, and candles.

+ Worshiping at the cemetery: After sweeping the tomb, the head of the family starts arranging the offerings. Fruits and gold coins are placed together, but the salty dishes are placed separately. Then, the head of the family lights incense, candles, burns 1 or 3 incense sticks and bows 3 times to show gratitude to the ancestral land. After that, invite the ancestral spirits to return and start reciting the prayers for Tet Thanh Minh.

While waiting for the incense to burn out, the family members go to the family’s cemetery to light incense and ask for permission to clean up. When the incense is two-thirds burnt, the head of the family can make an offering, turn the offerings into gold, ask for luck, and then leave.

+ Worshiping at home: Before worshiping, the head of the family needs to clean the house and the altar of ancestors, arranging items neatly. Prepare the offering tray ready to worship when returning from the cemetery after the Tet Thanh Minh ceremony. During the worship, the head of the family lights incense, offers prayers similar to other worship rituals, with sincerity and respect for the ancestors.

Frequently asked questions

Tet Thanh Minh is a time for people to remember and honor their ancestors and deceased relatives. It involves a tomb-sweeping tradition where families renovate and clean the tombs of their loved ones. It is believed that this occasion helps to maintain a connection with the spirits of the departed and brings peace and blessings to the family.

Families usually prepare a day in advance for the tomb-sweeping ceremony. Incense, lights, fruits, flowers, and salty food are gathered. On the day of Tet Thanh Minh, people bring tools to the cemetery to tend to the graves and prevent any disturbance to the spirits. Offerings are made, and prayers are recited to show gratitude and seek blessings.

Bananas are considered a fruit with spiritual significance in Vietnamese ancestral worship. While they are believed to attract positive energy and protect other fruits on the altar, they should not be brought to light incense outside the cemetery during Tet Thanh Minh. This is because bananas can attract wandering souls, potentially bringing negative energy and spirits back to the family home.

The offerings for Tet Thanh Minh worship vary depending on local customs, but they generally include a tray of offerings to ancestors. Typical offerings are sticky rice, chicken, rice, bamboo shoot soup, stir-fried glass noodles, betel leaves, fruits, gold coins, flowers, incense, and candles.

At the cemetery, after sweeping and tending to the tomb, the head of the family arranges the offerings and lights incense and candles. They burn incense sticks and bow to show gratitude to the ancestral land. They then invite the ancestral spirits to return and recite prayers. While waiting for the incense to burn out, family members visit the family cemetery to light incense and seek permission to clean. Once the incense is two-thirds burnt, offerings are made, and luck is requested before leaving.

For worship at home, the head of the family cleans the house and the ancestor’s altar, arranging items neatly. The offering tray is prepared, and worship is performed upon returning from the cemetery after the Tet Thanh Minh ceremony. Incense is lit, and prayers are offered with sincerity and respect for the ancestors.

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When is Tet Thanh Minh 2024 in the lunar calendar, solar calendar, and which day of the week does it fall on?

Tết Thanh minh – a traditional celebration among Vietnamese people. During this occasion, families often organize ancestral grave visits to honor their roots and show gratitude.