It was actually by accident that I discovered Qingming's other significant role--it's mark on tea prices.
I was planning my holiday escape from Zhengzhou, Henan, when I decided to research its roots of reverly. With 5,000 years of existence, Chinese history and traditions can easily get confusing.
Qingming, I found, is translated in several fashions in English, sometimes quite literally as Tomb Sweeping Day, or more poetically as the Pure Brightness Festival or still yet, the Clear Bright Ming Festival. Under all names, it's a day for the dead and respecting the spirits of ancestors. Food is traditionally brought to the altars of the dead, as well as, wine, chopsticks, joss paper, and as suspected, tea. Notably, the sweeping of tombs is involved too.
But why then does tea have such a significant importance on this festival, this day?
Rather separate from tombs, tea's economic value swiftly changes on the date. As it's known, tea that is "pre-Qingming" meaning fresh green tea leaves that are picked before the Qingming date, are given special status, and thus higher prices. Why? As the origin of Qingming may tell by its age, dating back more than 2,500 years, time has yielded wisdom. The tea plants plucked before the April 5th date usually produce teas with lighter and subtler aromas. Thus, as greater taste and quality usually keep company with--higher prices.