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Ancestral Temples: Retaining Traditional Values

Pub Date: 16-03-30 17:04 Source: chinadaily.com.cn

Residents of Yanhe village in Xinzhan district, Hefei, Anhui province, offer sacrifices to their ancestors during a ritual held recently. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui province, Xu Chun and members of his clan have been busy preparing their annual tribute to ancestors as part of Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on April 4.

"Tomb-sweeping activities in China are usually conducted before Spring Festival and during the Tomb Sweeping Day break. The first is often conducted by small families, while the later date is more suitable for large-scale ancestor worship rituals," said Xu, 48, a resident of Hefei.

Some members of the family were responsible for contacting their various relatives. Others helped prepare the sacrifices and other items needed for the ceremony.

"We all volunteered for the work and never expected or asked to be paid," Xu said.

The ceremony will be held in the family's ancestral temple in Leima community in Hefei's Shushan district. Hundreds of family members from across the country are expected to take part.

"If we didn't repair the temple in 2008, it would have collapsed and we would have no place for such a gathering," Xu said.

In Leima, which was previously a township, there are now about 10,000 residents, of which about 3,000 are from the Xu family. Other large clans in the area include the Zhou and Gu families.

"There is an old saying here, ‘Don't fight the Xus at any time', because they are a very large and united family," Xu said.

"We are united partly because the ancestral temple reminds us of our family ties."

The Xu temple was first built about 1547. It was badly damaged in the 1850s during the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64), and in 1939 during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

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Editor: Rita

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