Next Monday, 5th April, is the Qing Ming Festival, which has been observed by the Chinese dating back hundred years ago. Qing Ming is not a festival for celebration, but a day of mourning for their ancestors, and in the modern time, for their passed away family members or close relatives.

The Qing Ming Festival 清眀节, meaning CLEAR and BRIGHT festival, falls on the 104th days after the winter solstice, which is the 5th day of April each year and in a leap year, on the 4th day of April. This festival is sometimes known as the Tomb Sweeping Day, a day that the Chinese tend their graves of their love ones.

As the Festival signifies the changeover of the season from winter to spring, messy weather is the order of the day and the Festival usually met with drizzles and windiness. This year is no exception, it is drizzling, windy, wet and messy outside, which makes one feels the grief for those who have lost their love ones.

The most famous poem that featured the Festival was the poem entitled “Qingming” by Du Mu 杜牧 of the late Tang Dynasty, one of the two greatest poets of China of all time.

清明时节雨纷纷 / qīng míng shí jié yǔ fēn fēn
路上行人欲断魂 / lù shàng xíng rén yù duàn hún
借问酒家何处有 / jiè wèn jiǔ jiā hé chù yǒu
牧童遥指杏花村 / mù tóng yáo zhǐ xìng huā cūn

The literal translation of the poem in English is:

(the time around the Ching Ming Festival drizzling rain falls messily)
(the tomb sweepers around me on the dirt road up the mountain seems soon to lose their souls (lives) i.e. on the verge of dying)
(I politely asked where is the nearest inn so that I can drown my sorrow in alochol)
(the kid cowherd pointed far beyond at Xing Hua village (meaning my sorrow will go on))

The English poetic translation is:

The ceaseless drizzles drip all the dismal day,
So broken-hearted fares the traveler on the way.
When asked where could be found a tavern bower,
A cowboy points to yonder village of the apricot flower.

The poem in Spanish as provided by my friends are respectively as below :

La llovizna apaga con su llanto el Día de los Muertos.
Por el camino de las tumbas vuelan sombras apenadas.
¡Donde habrá una taberna para ahogar tanta tisteza!
Un joven tropero me señala como llegar al pueblo de Xing Hua .” cuentame que piensas.

Un brillo de la estacion cae sin parar.
en el camino el peatón quiere rendirse,
pregunta por un lugar donde haya vino;
y el pastorcillo le responde: en el pueblo de Xinghua.
In May this year I went to Wuhan, Hubei to visit a client. I took the opportunity to visit the famous Yellow Crane Pavilion (黄鹤楼 pinyin: Huáng Hè Lóu), which is a structure of about 7 storeys built on a slightly elevated land at the bank of the famous Yangtze River. The history of the pavilion dated back to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). When I stepped onto the terrace on the top floor of the pavilion, I had a fine of the Yangtze River and the entire city of Wuhan. I was overwhelmed with emotion and proud of the long history of China. 

The building is said to be named after a fairy tale that a fairy once passed here riding on a yellow crane. The building is regarded as on of the three most famous ancient terraces in China. There were many poems using this pavilion as the subject and below are the two most famous ones (sources of the translations of the two poems: Wikipedia)

Poem by Cui HaoYellow Crane Tower was made famous by an 8th century poem written by Cui Hao called "Yellow Crane Tower" (黄鹤楼). The original text of the poem is shown below:

日暮乡关何处是? 烟波江上使人愁。

A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

Long ago a man rode off on a yellow crane, all that remains here is Yellow Crane Tower.
Once the yellow crane left it never returned, for one thousand years the clouds wandered without care.
The clear river reflects each Hangyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island.
At sunset, which direction lies my home town? The mist covered river causes one to feel distressed.

[edit]Poem by Li BaiThere is another famous poem about it by Li Bai called "Seeing off of Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower" (黄鹤楼送孟浩然之广陵). The original poem is shown below:


A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

My old friend's said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower,
In the third month's cloud of willow blossoms, he's going down to Yangzhou.
The lonely sail is a distant shadow, on the edge of a blue emptiness,
All I see is the Yangtze River flow to the far horizon.
My dear friends, please make a translation of the two poems. You may post it at "the comments" or send to me at bzin88@gmail.com
Yellow River
This is another famous poem written about the Yellow Crane Pavilion, by the poe王之涣 Wang zhihuan (669-742) of the Tang Dynasty. At the time the pavilion was known the Stork Tower, hence the title of the poem.


On the stork tower
The sun along the mountain bows;
The yellow river seawards flows.
You will enjoy a grander sight;
By climbing to a greater height.

Ascenso por la torre de Guánqué

El sol blanco acercándose al borde del monte, 
el río Amarillo entra en el flujo del mar,
deseo agotarme por una vista inmensa,
asciendo una planta por dentro de la torre.