April 4th marks the Qing Ming Festival, a holiday of remembrance and celebration dating back centuries.
So what exactly is the “Qing Ming” Festival? Often referred to as Tomb Sweeping, the festival is when families set aside time to honor their deceased ancestors and celebrate the arrival of spring with outings and kite flying. Burial sites are groomed and symbolic offerings of food, tea and prayers are made ensuring that familial ancestors are well provided for in the afterlife.
Qing Ming translates literally to Clear and Bright and is one of twenty four Solar Terms; an invention of a complementary calendar signifying twenty four periods tied to agriculture that influences the basic necessities of life, such as tea.
The term pre-Qing Ming in relationship to tea signifies the harvest prior to the April holiday and is the absolute first harvest of the year. After months of winter dormancy young tender buds and leaves are plucked. Premier quality these first harvest teas are revered commanding high prices. Limited in quantity most pre-Qing Ming teas, such as Long Jing or Dragon Well, are consumed in the domestic market where the quality and significance is greatly appreciated.
We will have samples on the way by the end of next week and once we have selected our 2016 Pre-Qing Ming Dragon Well I encourage you to take the opportunity to experience the authenticity of this remarkable tea.