A documentary tracing the origins of the Qingming Festival, or Tomb-sweeping Day, to a group of villages in Shanxi province's Jiexiu county finished shooting on April 5.
Produced by the Jiexiu government and Xi'an Technological University, the documentary sees a team of researchers explore the countryside around Mianshan Mountain, an ancient holy site that has been settled for more than 2,600 years and is renowned as the birthplace of the Cold Food (Hanshi) Festival, China's oldest festival and the precursor of the Qingming Festival.
Usually celebrated in early April, Qingming Festival is traditionally a day when Chinese families pay their respects to their ancestors. It has been celebrated across China since the 8th century AD, while the Cold Food Festival's origins can be traced even further back to before 600 BC.
Over 13 days of filming, the crew sought to trace this ancient history, interviewing local people in the many villages dotting the mountain and recording the traditional folk customs and tales that they continue to preserve today.
An important part of the Chinese Festivals’ Records project, a key research program launched by the National Social Science Foundation of China, the documentary touches upon anthropology, sociology, folklore and many other subjects.
With post-production set to be completed in April 2018, the documentary will be screened in film festivals across China and the world, and is expected to play an important role in promoting Jiexiu as a center for culture and tourism.
"The documentary makes it clear that Qingming Festival originates from Jiexiu county in Shanxi," said Liu Lei, the director of the cultural communication department at Xi'an Technological University.