Cold Food Festival
This Cold Food Festival, so named because custom forbade the lighting of fires for three days, and therefore people had to ate cold food, was a solar celebration that fell on the 105th day follwed the Winter Solstice in ancient times, now, it falls on the day before Qingming Festival in most parts of Shanxi province. This festival was to commemorate Jiezi Tui of Spring and Autumn Dynasty. On that occasion people went to the tombs of their ancestors to sweep them, sacrifice to their forebears, and have a picnic. It was also a time for indulging in diversions. Ladies amused themselves on swings. Palace women as well as new graduates of the civil service examinations played football. An imperial workshop manufactured the balls--probably leather spheres filled with feathers, as in previous times--and presented them to the throne during the festival. Tugs-of-war and polo were also part of the entertainment during the festivities. In 710 Emperor Zhongzong had his chief ministers, sons-in-law, and generals participate in a tug-of-war. When two of the oldest ministers fell to the ground, the monarch laughed. Cold Food Festival also had something of the character of Easter in the West because it was the custom in the Tang to dye chicken and duck eggs then. The throne presented porridge to officials for their holiday.
Today, during Cold Food Festival, people of Jin South region eat agar-agar jelly, cold noodles and steamed rice cake, people of Jin North region eat fried food, and people in some mountain area eat chow mein.