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China’s four memorial ceremonies, “Wen, Wu, Yan and Huang”, showcase the heritage of Chinese civilization

September 27, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

A grand ceremony celebrating the 3,156th anniversary of Jiang Ziya’s birth was held in Linzi District, Zibo, Shandong Province, on September 12, 2017. Zibo is the capital of the former Qi Kingdom. Thousands of Jiang Ziya’s descendants from around the world attended the event to pay respects to and honor their famous common ancestor.

Why does Chinese civilization, stretching back five thousand years, still exist today? The reason cited by the Linzi District Events Office is that the Chinese nation has deep roots. The word “motherland”, which is how China is referred to in the Chinese language when talking about the heritage of its people and the connection that its people have to that heritage, refers to the common knowledge that first there was a people, the ancestors of every Chinese person living today, while the concept and existence of the nation is something that came later. Ancestor worship, a very important aspect of Chinese culture and civilization, is about filial piety – the virtue of respect for one’s parents and elders – and a strongly felt remembrance and memorialization of one’s ancestors. A Chinese person should never forget where his or her happiness comes from. The Chinese culture is imbued with a filial piety-based moral obligation which descendants must fulfill by paying respects to and honoring their ancestors.

During the past 5,000 years, remembrance of one’s ancestors has been a constant when exploring the history. Today, ancestor worship has become the most important element of the historical perspective.

In terms of national traditions and the relative importance of each tradition, China’s four memorial ceremonies can be summed up in four words, “Wen, Wu, Yan and Huang”.

Dates and venues for four memorial ceremonies:

  1. Wen: Confucius’ memorial ceremony in Qufu, Shandong, Date: September 28, Venue: Temple of Confucius, Qufu.
  2. Wu: Jiang Ziya’s memorial ceremony in Zibo, Shandong, Date: September 12, Venue: Memorial Temple of Jiang Taigong, Linzi.
  3. Yan: Yan Emperor Mausoleum’s memorial ceremony in Zhuzhou, Hunan, Date: Double Ninth Festival (in 2017, this falls on October 28), Venue: Yan Emperor Mausoleum, Yanling County.
  4. Huang: Yellow Emperor’s memorial ceremony in Huangling, Shaanxi, Date: Qingming Festival (in 2018, this falls on April 5), Venue: Yellow Emperor Mausoleum, Qiaoshan.

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