This is totally a real thing. Per Wikipeadia:
Legend has it that Chong'er (重耳), a prince of Jin, endured many hardships while he fled around the warring states. Once, in order to help the prince who was tormented by hunger, Jie Zhitui (介之推; also called Jie Zitui (介子推)) cut off the flesh from his thigh and offered it to the prince for sustenance.
Later, when Chong'er became Duke Wen of Jin (晉文公), he ordered a search for Jie Zhitui who had gone into hiding in the remote mountains with his mother. Jie Zhitui had no political ambitions and felt ashamed to work with his hypocritical fellows, hence refused invitation of the Duke. Chong'er ordered the mountains to be burned down in order to force Zhitui out of hiding. Unfortunately Zhitui did not give in and the fire ended up killing Zhitui and his mother.
Filled with remorse, Chong'er ordered that each year during these three days the setting of fire is forbidden - all food was to be consumed cold. Therefore the Festival is thus named. In Jiexiu City of the Shanxi Province, where Zhitui died, locals still remember this tradition clearly. But even for them the tradition of eating cold food is no longer actually practiced.
The traditionally practiced activities during the Cold Food Festival includes the visitation of ancestral tombs, cock-fighting, playing on swings, beating out blankets (to freshen them), tug-of-war, etc. The practice of visiting ancestral tombs is especially ancient.
So the guy wants to repay his friend by hiring him. The friend says no. The guy burns the friend to death. And then decides to punish everyone by making fires illegal.
Also: It's a Cold Food Festival, and yet there's no mention of refrigerated pizza.
The image above is taken from "Departure Herald," this stupid-detailed painting from 1500s China. It shows the emperor approaching the Ming tombs. He's flanked and preceded and followed by his entourage of horseman. In this instance, David Price would be that emperor, Wil Myers, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Desmond Jennings the entourage.
What's your favorite part of the Cold Food Festival?
This poll is closed
Not lighting fires for three days.
The rich, much-debated history.
The visiting of ancestral tombs.
The cock fighting.
The playing on swings.
The beating of blankets.
The tug-of-war games.