A GRAND CELEBRATION OF CHINESE WORSHIPPING ANCESTORS
Every country has its own unique legends, so does China. As one of the representative figures of Chinese culture, the Yellow Emperor is regarded as the ancestor of Chinese civilization, who guided Chinese people from barbarism to civilized age.
caption: portrait of the Yellow Emperor
Zhengzhou of Henan Province is the hometown of the Yellow Emperor. As one of the oldest cities in China, Zhengzhou is also a metropolis connecting Central China with the world. It has 8,000 years of Peiligang Culture, 5,000 years of Huangdi Culture and 2,700 years of Zhenghan Culture. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the annual grand ancestor worship ceremony, held in Zhengzhou to commemorate the Yellow Emperor, has become a holy tradition for billions of Chinese people to worship their ancestors.
For more than a decade, she has helped Zhengzhou to stand out and become the focus of overseas attention, attracting more than one million Chinese people from home and abroad who seek for their roots to visit this city: an important place of origin of Chinese culture and history.
The Yellow Emperor is the humanistic primogenitor of Chinese people. He is considered to be the first man to unify the Chinese nation and the forerunner of ancient civilization in China. He planted hundreds of grasses, created words, made clothing, built boats and carts, determined numbers and computation, set temperament, initiated medicine, and etc.. By legend, he is said to be the co-lord of Chinese people in ancient times and the head of the Five Emperors.
caption: drilling wood for fire
Chinese people worship their ancestors and respect their wisdom. In western mythology, fire is given by God. In Greek mythology, fire was stolen by Prometheus. But in Chinese culture, fire was made by means of drilling wood firmly and indomitably by their ancestors.
When facing the flood near the end of the world, the West took refuge in Noah's Ark. While in Chinese mythology, it is Dayu, the descendant of the Yellow Emperor, who defeated the flood. If you read Chinese myths, you will find that their stories are incredible.
Putting the plot aside and getting the cultural core of the myth, you will realize that Chinese people worship their ancestors to show their respect for the ancestors’ wisdom, and to carry forward the spirit of self-improvement of mankind.
The legend about solar deity is widespread in very country. After acquainting yourself with the relative myths, you will find that only Chinese people have the courage to challenge the solar god: a man determined to chase the sun and wanted to take off the sun because it was too hot (Kuafu Chasing the Sun). The conviction “one can lose, but cannot give in” is revealed by ancestors of Chinese people in such stories.
caption: Jingwei filling up the sea
"A girl was drowned in the sea, she came back to life again, turned into a bird and wanted to fill up the sea. This is the spirit of self-improvement."
Every civilization is theistic in its early days, but the ancestors of Chinese people did not place their hopes for survival in God’s favor, and they believed in their own efforts and wisdom.
Westerners think that people are created by God, so everyone is equal. While Chinese people believe that human beings have a long history, and they advocate humanity. The whole nation is a family at the very beginning in spite of people’s different last names. Chinese people seek harmony but not uniformity, and they construct a satisfactory together environment.
Chinese people truly believe that "a person’s body is nurtured and affected by his parents.” People root in things, and things come from heaven and earth. Nature has provided us with food and clothing, and our ancestors have given us life. Therefore, we should show our gratitude, and hold sacred and solemn ceremonies to educate people and set social regulations to restrain people.
caption: the scene of worship
Ancestor worship ceremony is a very special cultural activity in China. The Yellow Emperor's birthday falls on the third day of the third lunar month. On that day, people wear costumes decorated with their last names to worship their ancestors. There are many activities on the agenda, such as firing salute, presenting flower baskets, cleaning hands, burning incense, praying, delivering oration, dancing accompanied by music, praying for heaven, earth, people and harmony.
April 7, 2019, is the third day of the third lunar month of this year. The ceremony of worshipping the Yellow Emperor has already come into countdown stage, a scene of excitement will appear in Zhengzhou city, and people gathering here will witness the grand occasion again.