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Ceremony for Yellow Emperor honors ancestors

By ZHENG JINRAN/HUO YAN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-06 06:59

A dragon dance is performed during a ceremony for Tomb Sweeping Day on Friday at the Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor in Shaanxi province's Huangling county. The emperor, also known as Huangdi, is regarded as one of the common ancestors of all Chinese, who call themselves descendants of the dragon. HUO YAN/CHINA DAILY

Friday was the 10th time that Guo Wen, 36, has attended the annual ancestral worship ceremony for the legendary Huangdi, or Yellow Emperor.

It was Tomb Sweeping Day, the traditional day that Chinese people pay tribute to their ancestors.

"You can clearly feel the strong emotions and connections of the worshippers, no matter where they came from, in their eyes and words, at such a grand ceremony," said Guo, a guide at the Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor.

The mausoleum, located in Huangling county, Yan'an, Shaanxi province, is the burial site of the Yellow Emperor, a legendary figure who lived nearly 5,000 years ago. He is widely regarded as the initiator of Chinese civilization and a common ancestor of the Chinese.

"More Chinese from overseas are coming here to revere the forefathers," said Guo, who recalled a moment three years ago when Yok Mu-ming, chairman of the New Party of Taiwan, gently touched some of the 3,000-year-old cypress trees at the mausoleum during a visit. It was as if, by touching the trees, which have stood here for thousands of years, he could trace history, she said.

More than 300 people from Taiwan, including Yok Mu-ming, attended this year's worship ceremony in Huangling county on Friday, according to the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, one of the four organizers of the annual ceremony.

The worship ceremony for the Yellow Emperor is a good way to grasp the spirit and root of the Chinese people, connecting everyone to the past and binding them as a people, said Su Feng, a senior scholar on the Yellow Emperor with the Xuanyuan Huangdi Society.

For the younger generation, it is also a good occasion to learn more about Chinese culture, said Cao Qianqian, 19, a freshman at Shaanxi Normal University who participated in the ceremony with around 300 other students.

"We usually only pay tribute to our own families' ancestors, but now, the Yellow Emperor is more than just a legend. This helped us feel connected even though we were born thousands of kilometers away," Cao said among nods of agreement by her friends, who were dressed in traditional Chinese costume, for the ceremonial performance.

More than 10,000 visitors, including some from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, attended the ceremony.

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