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Ancestor worship in China

The worship of an ancestor takes place at his tomb. A young male child of the family is dressed up as the dead man, wearing the highest rank of clothes to which he was entitled. Dishes of meat, from the sacrificed animals, and wine or other alcohol are offered to this child, who tastes them and declares himself, in the person of the ancestor, to be satisfied. Everyone then settles down to a family meal, the spirit of the departed being content with the steam of the cooked meat and a little poured wine.

The ancestor or other relation, if recently dead, will also want to hear the latest family news. Left in the form of a letter at the tomb, this can be an astonishingly Direct and informal communication.


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