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Encyclopedia > Ancestor worship
Offerings to ancestors' graves can include the burning of incense.
Offerings to ancestors' graves can include the burning of incense.
Sending off the dead by burning offerings.

Ancestor Worship, also known as Ancestor Veneration or Ancestorism, is a religious practice based on the belief that deceased family members have a continued existence, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. All cultures attach ritual significance to the passing of loved ones, but this is not equivalent to ancestor worship. The goal of ancestor worship is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living and sometimes to ask for special favours or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor worship is to cultivate kinship values like filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. While far from universal, ancestor worship or ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1712x2304, 1773 KB) Summary Description: At Chinese New Year, one of the customs is to burn incense at the graves of ancestors. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1712x2304, 1773 KB) Summary Description: At Chinese New Year, one of the customs is to burn incense at the graves of ancestors. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1600x1200, 972 KB) I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1600x1200, 972 KB) I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... The anthropology of religion involves the study of religious institutions in relation to other social institutions, and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. ...

Contents

About ancestral worship/veneration

For most of the cultures, ancestor practices are not the same as the worship of the gods. When a person worships a god at a local temple, it is to ask for some favour that can be granted by the powerful spirit. Generally speaking, however, the purpose of ancestor worship is not to ask for favors but to do one's filial duty. Some people believe that their ancestors actually need to be provided for by their descendants. Others do not believe that the ancestors are even aware of what their descendants do for them, but that the expression of filial piety is what is important. Whether or not the ancestor receives what is offered is not the issue.


Therefore, for people unfamiliar with how "ancestor worship" is actually practiced and thought of, the use of the translation "worship" can be a cause of misunderstanding and is a misnomer in many ways. In English, the word "worship" usually refers to the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity or divine being. However, in other cultures, this act of "worship" does not confer any belief that the departed ancestors have become some kind of deity. Rather the act is a way to respect, honour and look after ancestors in their afterlives as well as possibly seek their guidance for their living descendants. In this regard, many cultures and religions have similar practices. Some may visit the grave of his parents or other ancestors, leave flowers and pray to them in order to honour and remember them while also asking their deceased ancestors to continue to look after them. However he would not consider himself as "worshipping" them.


It is in that sense that the translation "ancestor veneration" may convey a more accurate sense of what practitioners, such as the Chinese and other Confucian-influenced societies, see themselves as doing. Wenmiao Temple, a Confucian Temple in Wuwei, Gansu, Peoples Republic of China. ...


Who are our ancestors?

When one refers to ancestors, it is said to include all of the following:

  • Subtle bodies of all our known and unknown departed relations from all the previous generations are included in the category of our ancestors.
  • Relatives from all the previous generations from the father’s and mother’s side; for a woman from her parent’s side as well as from her husband’s side are included in this category.
  • Along with this subtle bodies of departed relatives from previous births are also included in ancestors.[1]
  • Normally a daughter married away to another family will never visit her previous generation and will instead visit her husband's previous generation because it's a custom for the women to follow the men's.
  • If the daughter is the only child in the family, the daughter might make a brief visit to the ancestral shrine.
  • The eldest son and his family will usually be the ones who initiate the visit to an ancestral shrine.

The Subtle body is a non-physical energy or psycho-spiritual body or bodies that all beings have, according to various esoteric, occult, and mystical teachings. ...

Ancestor veneration in China

This picture was taken at a Malaysian Chinese home. On the left of the altar is a glass filled with rice. Joss sticks are stuck into it after the ancestors are invited to partake in the offering of food specially prepared for them on the Hungry Ghost festival.
Food is offered to the ancestors during the annual Hungry Ghost festival prayers.
Food is offered to the ancestors during the annual Hungry Ghost festival prayers.

Ancestor worship in some cultures (such as Chinese) (拜祖, pinyin: bàizǔ), also ancestor veneration (敬祖, pinyin: jìngzǔ ), seeks to honor the deeds, memories, and sacrifice of the deceased. Much of the veneration includes visiting the deceased at their graves, making offerings to the deceased to provide for their welfare in the afterlife. For instance, a toothbrush, comb, towel, slippers, and water are provided by the coffin or memorial so that the deceased will be able to have these items after they have died. Often paper versions of these objects are burned for the same purpose, even paper cars and plasma TVs. Spirit money (also called Hell Notes) is sometimes burned as an offering to ancestors as well for the afterlife. The living may regard the ancestors as "guardian angels" to them, perhaps in protecting them from serious accidents, or guiding their path in life. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2288x1712, 643 KB) Summary This picture was taken at a Malaysian Chinese home. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2288x1712, 643 KB) Summary This picture was taken at a Malaysian Chinese home. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2288x1712, 689 KB) Summary Food is offered to the ancestors during the annual Hungry Ghost festival prayers. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2288x1712, 689 KB) Summary Food is offered to the ancestors during the annual Hungry Ghost festival prayers. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... For other uses, see Afterlife (disambiguation). ... Three toothbrushes The toothbrush is an instrument used to clean teeth, consisting of a small brush on a handle. ... A comb A comb for people with hair loss. ... A towel is a piece of absorbent fabric or paper used for drying or wiping. ... A pair of open-heeled slippers. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... For people named Coffin, see Coffin (surname). ... Joss paper Joss paper (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally gold paper), also known as ghost money, are sheets of paper that are burned in traditional Chinese deity or ancestor worship ceremonies during special holidays. ... The widely used $10,000 Hell note. ... Sacrifice (from a Middle English verb meaning to make sacred, from Old French, from Latin sacrificium : sacer, sacred; sacred + facere, to make) is commonly known as the practice of offering food, or the lives of animals or people to the gods, as an act of propitiation or worship. ...


Ancestor veneration in India

Ancestor worship is predominant in rural India. In India, if an elder person passes away, the family remembers them during festivals and ceremonies. The family also offers food to the deceased first, before they themselves eat. Everyone makes prayers. Children are asked to wish for something.


Ancestor veneration in Vietnam

Ancestor worship is one of the most unifying aspects of Vietnamese culture, as practically all Vietnamese regardless of religious denomination (Buddhist or Christian) have an ancestor altar in their home or business. The tomb of Emperor Minh Mạng in Huế. The Culture of Vietnam is one of the oldest of such in the Southeast Asia region. ... A replica of an ancient statue found among the ruins of a temple at Sarnath Buddhism is a philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, a prince of the Shakyas, whose lifetime is traditionally given as 566 to 486 BCE. It had subsequently been accepted by... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ...


In Vietnam, traditionally people didn't celebrate birthdays (before western influence) but the death anniversary of a loved one was always an important occasion. Besides an essential gathering of family members for a banquet in memory of the deceased, incense sticks are burned along with hell notes, and great platters of fruit and food are made as offerings on the ancestor altar, which usually has pictures of the deceased.


These offerings and practices are done frequently during important traditional festivals, the starting of a new business, or even when a family member needs guidance or counsel, and is a hallmark of the emphasis Vietnamese culture places on filial duty.


Ancestor veneration in Germany and Austria

November 1 (All Saints Day) is the day when families go to the cemeteries and light candles for their dead relatives. The festival of All Saints, also sometimes known as All Saints Day, All Hallows or Hallowmas (hallows meaning saints, and mas meaning Mass), is a feast celebrated in the honour of all the saints, known and unknown. ...


Ancestor veneration in America

In America, flowers, wreaths, and grave decorations and sometimes candles, are put on graves year-round, as a way to honour the dead. Times like Easter, Christmas, Candlemas, and All Souls' Day are especially days when the relatives and friends of the deceased gather to honor them with flowers and candles. Some Americans may even have a shrine in their home dedicated to loved ones who have died, with pictures of them; and also, many roadside shrines may be seen for deceased relatives who died in car accidents or were killed on that spot. A scenic cemetery in rural Spain showing marble headstones Copyright (c) 1996 Steven J. Dunlop, Nerstrand, MN; released under GFDL; all other rights reserved. ... A scenic cemetery in rural Spain showing marble headstones Copyright (c) 1996 Steven J. Dunlop, Nerstrand, MN; released under GFDL; all other rights reserved. ... Candlemas (Russian: Sretenie, Spanish: Candelaria) is a Christian feast commemorating the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple. ... All Souls Day (also the Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of the Faithful Departed; formal Catholic name: Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum (Latin), Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed), also called Defuncts Day in Mexico and Belgium, is the day set apart in Western Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church but...


Ancestor veneration in Ireland

During Samhain in Ireland the dead were supposed to return, and food and light were left for them. Lights were left burning all night, like was done on Christmas Eve, and food was left outdoors for them. It was believed that food fallen on the floor should also be left, as someone needed it. Look up Samhain in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Christmas Eve (1904-05), watercolor painting by the Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1853-1919) Christmas Eve, the evening of December 24th, the preceding day or vigil before Christmas Day, is treated to a greater or a lesser extent in most Christian societies as part of the Christmas season. ...


Ancestor veneration in Africa

Ancestor worship is very prevalent throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and serves as the basis of many religions. Ancestor worship or veneration is often augmented by a belief in a supreme being, but prayers and or sacrifices are usually offered to the ancestors who may ascend to becoming minor deities themselves. Ancestor worship remains among many indigenous Africans despite the adoption of Christianity (as in Nigeria among the Igbo and Igala) and Islam (among the different Mandé peoples and the Bamum) in much of the continent. The Ibo are a group of people living in what is now Nigeria. ... The Igala or Igara are a people of Nigeria. ... Mandé is an ethnic group of West Africa. ... Bamum, also spelled Bamoum, Bamun, or Bamoun, may refer to: The Bamum language The Bamum people Category: ...


See also

The term Animism is derived from the Latin anima, meaning soul.[1][2] In its most general sense, animism is simply the belief in souls. ... Anitos were idols worshiped by some Filipinos before the coming of the Spaniards. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A silhouette of a Buddha statue at Ayutthaya, Thailand. ... Clothed statues of Matsu / Mazu (Chinese goddess of the Sea) Chinese folk religion comprises the religion practiced in much of China for thousands of years which included ancestor veneration and drew heavily upon concepts and beings within Chinese mythology. ... For other uses, see Day of the Dead (disambiguation). ... Fēng Shuǐ (風水 – literally, wind and water pronounced fung shuway), which may be more than 3000 years old, is the ancient practice of placement to achieve harmony with the environment. ... For other uses, see Ghost (disambiguation). ... The Ghost Festival (Traditional Chinese: 中元節 or 盂蘭節; pinyin: zhōng yuán jié, and sometimes called 盂蘭盆; pinyin: yulanpen) is a traditional Chinese festival/holiday, which is celebrated by Chinese in many countries. ... Kachina doll In Pueblo religious practices, Kachina (also spelled Katsina) refers to three related things: Supernatural entities or spirits capable of influencing the natural world. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ngozi is a first name from Southern Nigeria meaning Gods blessing. ... A shaman doctor of Kyzyl. ... The Japanese word ‘sorei’ (祖霊) refers to the spirits of ancestors. ... Ifá is a system of divination that originated in West Africa among the Yoruba people. ...

References

  1. ^ Who all are included in ‘our ancestors’? Spiritual Science Research Foundation Inc.

External links

  • Photos of Modern Papier-Mâché Objects Found in Hong Kong
  • "Hell Money" by catherine yronwode at luckymojo.com
  • Day of the Dead information, Building Altars, History, etc.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ancestor worship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (821 words)
Ancestor worship is a religious practice based on the belief that deceased family members have a continued existence, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living.
The goal of ancestor worship is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living and sometimes to ask for special favors or assistance.
Ancestor worship in some cultures (such as Chinese) (拜祖, pinyin: bàizǔ), also ancestor veneration (敬祖, pinyin: jìngzǔ), seeks to honor the deeds, memories, and sacrifice of the deceased.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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