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Huangdi Mausoleum Sacrificial Ceremony

Huangdi Mausoleum Sacrificial Ceremony

Located in southern region of Yan'an City, Shaanxi Province, Huangling County, derived its name from the burial site of Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) who is the founder of the Chinese nation.

It is believed that Huangdi was the cultural founder of the Chinese nation. To commemorate his spirit, ancient Chinese people held sacrificial ceremonies. The earliest historical record of the ceremony was that Qin Linggong taken the position of sacrificial ceremony in the reign of Weilie (422.BC) in Zhou dynasty (from 1027 BC). After the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), it became a routine to sacrifice to Huangdi.

In 1911 when Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) took over the position of Interim President of the Republic of China, he send professional worker to sacrifice the ancestors in Interim President. During the period of the war of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945), members of both the Kuomintang and Communist Party held various sacrificial ceremonies for Huangdi Mausoleum together, and Chairman Mao Zedong also wrote the sacrificial writing himself.

During the long period of practice, the Huangdi Mausoleum sacrificial ceremony has formed a set of patterns and etiquettes, dividing into worshiping activities carried out by both officials and ordinary people.

Today, the worshiping activities held by people are solemn and respectful, with the process conducted as followed: A piece of banner is hung above the sacrificial pavilion on which several words of " Official Huangdi Mausoleum Sacrificial Ceremony", and rhyming couplet written newly each year are hung in the pillars of both sides; some sacrificial utensils, fresh fruits and flowers are placed on the table. The sacrificial processes are as follows:

  • 1. All people attendant stands up.
  • 2. The primary and assistant persons officiating the rites take their place.
  • 3. Play classical music.
  • 4. Offer flower baskets and wreaths respectively.
  • 5. To bow three times.
  • 6. Read the sacrificial writings by primary host.
  • 7. Leaders address.
  • 8. Shoot off firecrackers and people walk around the mausoleum.
  • 9. Take photos as souvenir.
  • 10. Plant the trees as souvenir.

The folk sacrificial rite is often held during the Tomb-Sweeping Festival and Yang Festival (9th day of 9th month) without a fixed ceremonies according to people's wishes and customs. The processes are follows:

  • 1. All people attendant stands up.
  • 2. Representatives of all social circles take their places.
  • 3. Beat the drum and ring the bell.
  • 4. Play classical music.
  • 5. Sacrifice, including offering flower basket and wreath, meat offering and libation etc.
  • 6. Bow three times.
  • 7. Read the sacrificial writings respectively.
  • 8. Shoot off firecrackers and people walk around the mausoleum following the drum group.
  • 9. Take photos as souvenir.
  • 10. Plant the trees as souvenir. The remaining activities in the official ceremonies, the folk ones emphasize the character of civil ceremony, adding the groups of drum, so-na (trumpet) and so on.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China the launch of reform and opening up of the country, the Mausoleum has witnessed many worshipping activities conducted by Chinese natives and expatriates. It has become an important activity for Chinese people due to its connection to the evolution of Chinese culture.