The beginning of Qing Ming was based on a sad story about a man whose name was Jie Zitui, a faithful servant of a Duke named Wen. Jie was so faithful that when his lord and him could hardly find any food, he prepared a meat soup made of his own thigh. His lord found out that Jie had sacrificed his own thigh for him, then he promised Jie that once he succeeded in becoming King, he would reward Jie for his loyalty.
Jie who didn’t want any reward resigned not long after his lord became a Duke and lived in a forest with his mother. The Duke looked for Jie, but he couldn’t find him so that he ordered his servants to burn the forest in order to force Jie out. Unfortunately, the fire didn’t only force Jie to get out of the forest but also killed him. Then, the remorseful Duke Wen ordered the villagers not to use fire and eat only cold food for three days to commemorate Jie’s death.