homage to the Ancestors

Midway through our New Years festivities, somewhere between dinner, Dragon Practice & fireworks, Erica’s Mom brought out some incense and paper money and the family went through an elaborate ritual to pay homage to the ancestors.

The Chinese government banned ancestor worship not long after taking power over 50 years ago.  Most photos of the family patriarch on the  mantles and shrines were replaced with photos of Mao & can be seen in last photo my post Xingping.  Government approval or not, the practice continued albeit a bit “under the table.”  With the recent relaxing of the rules in China, the practice has come back into the open.  As Erica and her brother and Mom light then incense, they bowed to the altar and said prayers.  Outside, Erica’s brother light incense and placed it at the threshold.

I found the ritual quit interesting; it is very foreign to the Christian beliefs that I was raised with.  I can remember in Sunday school being taught to look down at pagan religions but knowing these people and being an honored guest in their home I have a newfound appreciation for their beliefs and way of life.


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