Asian Americans balance Christianity and culture in rituals honoring their ancestors
canada goose store Nor would we participate in any of the traditional Chinese ancestral rites of burning incense andpaper money, or leaving food for her as an offering in the afterlife. canada goose store
uk canada goose outlet Like 42 percent of Asian Americans, my parents are Christian. And for believers like them, Chinese ancestor veneration inappropriately elevates the dead. The bowing, in particular, is akin to “idol worship,” a direct contradiction of their faith. The burning of money and offering of food are supposed to be gifts to the dead in the canada goose outlet 2015 afterlife. But to Christians, deathisn’t the door to a spirit world where material things are needed, but the beginning of life in heaven. uk canada goose outlet
canada goose coats This year, my father told me we would visit my grandparents’ graves around Qingming Jie, the annual Chinese Tombsweeping festival, which this year fell on April 5. Joining millions of Chinese families celebrating the spring holiday to honor the dead, we planned to make the pilgrimage to our family burial grounds. We would clean my grandparents’ gravesites and reflect on their lives. But we wouldn’t bow, burn incense and paper money or leave food. canada goose coats
canada goose factory sale My parents left Hong canada goose outlet store uk Kong 50 years ago. For the first time I wondered: Are they now more Christian than Chinese? Had Christianity become our primary culture here in America? canada goose factory sale
canada goose clearance sale My family isn’t the only one grappling with these questions. canada goose clearance sale
Before Chinese American Jordan Kwan and his family converted to Christianity, they would bring oranges and a dim sum dish to a cemetery in Oakland, Calif., and participate in all the canada goose outlet in canada traditional ancestor veneration rituals.
He remembers them changing their routine when he was in the sixth grade.
canadian goose jacket “You don’t have to bow,” his newly Christian parents told him. canadian goose jacket
Canada Goose online How did Chinese families like ours come to feel that our culture was incompatible with Christianity? Canada Goose online
canada goose clearance Sze Kar Wan, professor of New Testament at Southern canada goose outlet authentic Methodist University, says it stems from an canada goose outlet location error in translation. canada goose clearance
Canada Goose Parka In ancient Chinese, the word for ancestor veneration, “jizu,” was defined canada goose factory outlet vancouver as the act of sacrifice to canada goose outlet winnipeg address the deities. In a modern context, Wan says it simply describes the commemoration of the dead. Canada Goose Parka
Historically, practicing ancestral rites is deeply knit into Chinese culture particularly because it embodies filial piety, the Confucian virtue of respect for one’s elders. Although it plays a central role in the Tombsweeping festival, it is traditionally observed during all major holidays.
canada goose coats on sale Europeans initially believed China to be an enlightened society without Christianity, but that changed by the mid 18thto 19thcentury. Western missionaries viewed some aspects of Chinese culture as an obstacle to their religion and did everything to counter them, Wan says. canada goose coats on sale
buy canada goose jacket cheap This included translating “jizu” canada goose sale uk to “ancestor worship.” In doing so, missionaries played a part in defining Chinese tradition to the English canada goose outlet in toronto speaking world and pitting it against a Christian God. buy canada goose jacket cheap
“Do not worship any other god,” the Bible reads. “The Lord is a jealous God.”
Chinese American Serena Cerezo Poon remembers traveling to Hong Kong from California for her grandmother’s funeral in canada goose outlet england 2003. Her cousin played Christian worship music on his guitar, drowning out the Buddhist monks chanting at nearby services. Her mother placed a sign next to her grandmother’s coffin that read, “No Bowing.”
“I was surprised she canada goose parka outlet didn’t physically stand next to the coffin and stop peoplemid bow,” Cerezo Poon said.
canada goose uk outlet Before her family’s trip, Cerezo Poon had researched the influence missionaries had in China as a college student. canada goose uk outlet
Canada Goose Outlet “Christian missionaries said it was evil,” canada goose outlet toronto location she says of ancestor veneration. “But when it’s such a big part of the culture, it was like them saying ‘You can’t be Chinese canada goose outlet online store anymore, it’s evil.’ ” Canada Goose Outlet
After Catholic and Protestant missionaries established more canada goose shop uk churches in China by the 19thcentury, many new converts were ostracized for their faith and their rejection of Chinese traditionssuch as ancestor veneration. canada goose outlet online uk In extreme examples, such as the 1899 Boxer rebellion, they were persecuted and killed.
Despite political challenges, Christianity in China has endured into the 21st century. In 2010, the Pew Research Center estimated the country’s Christian population to be over 67 million, 5 percent of the national population, and other scholars say current numbers could be nearly twice that.
Canada Goose Online Today, the influence of Western missionaries is still evident in Chinese Christians whose families like mine, Kwan’s and Cerezo Poon’s immigrated to the United States. Canada Goose Online
Chinese people decorate the gravesite of their deceased relative to mark the Qingming Festival at the Jiu Gong Shan cemetery in Beijing, in observance of the Qingming Festival, also known as Tombsweeping Day. (Roman Pilipey/Shutterstock)
But the hard line approach against ancestor veneration could canada goose outlet kokemuksia be fading in a world where cultures are becoming increasingly hybrid.
“I think one could look at ancestor veneration canada goose jacket outlet as a continuation of memory,” Wan says. Our dead “do not have independent status or power from God, but we can acknowledge that they are now in the repose of God and that canada goose outlet washington dc it is important to remember them. That could really be worked into the modern Christian worldview.”.