The Huangdi Mausoleum Foundation in Shaanxi Province announced on March 22 that through selection by various social circles and strict investigation by the Foundation, a person has been picked up as host to officiate at the sacrificial rites for first Chinese ancestor, Yellow Emperor, to be held during the traditional Chinese "Qingming" (Pure Brightness) Festival on April 5 this year, thus completing the preparation work for the grand occasion that attracts the attention of the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, from home and abroad.
More than 500,000 Chinese come annually to seek ancestral roots
Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, is believed to be the legendary and cultural founder of the Chinese nation. The Huangdi Mausoleum, situated in Huangling County of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, is a sacred place commonly admired by sons and daughters of the Chinese nation from home and abroad, it has seen incessant worshiping activities carried out by both officials and ordinary people throughout the ages and dynasties. Since the launch of the reform and opening up program two decades ago, the Mausoleum has witnessed grand, unprecedented worshipping activities conducted by Chinese from home and abroad, whose number has exceeded 500,000 annually in recent years, according to president Sun Tianyi of the Foundation.
Chinese-Filipino Mr. Huang Kuang-tan had a long-cherished dream of going back to the Chinese mainland to worship the Huangdi Mausoleum, but his dream remained unfulfilled due to his poor health. On his deathbed, he admonished his son Huang Ming-jung not to forget his ancestors just like fallen leaves which would return to roots. His son, carrying his father's behest, brought his whole family back to worship the Huangdi Mausoleum in China where he told his child excitedly, "Our roots are here!". After visiting the Huangdi Mausoleum, Ms Chou Hua, a Chinese with Japanese nationality, planted an evergreen tree in the mausoleum area on behalf of her child. She said, "I planted the tree in the name of my child in her infancy because I want to make her understand after she grows up that she is forever a Chinese."
The largest ever memorial ceremony in history
Considering the soaring number of people attending the ceremony, the Huangdi Mausoleum kicked off its large-scale second-stage innovation project last year. The project, which was planned to be completed at the advent of the Qingming festival, involves a total investment of 250 million yuan. The new memorial compound covers an area of 12,000 square meters and can hold 5,000 worshipers at the same time. It and the newly completed 1,600-sq.m.Xuanyuan Hall (Xuanyuan is the name of the Yellow Emperor), are both the main memorial sites. The two structures, shining with the splendor and charm of the Han and Tang dynasties, merged ancient Chinese tradition and the spirit of the times into one entity. The Xuanyuan Hall is based on a three-level stone platform, 36 granite columns each with a diameter of 1.2 meter are classical and steady, the entire hall, built with over 100,000 tons of rocks, is a typical stone building rarely seen at home. The entire structure, grand and magnificent, gives full expressions to the long-standing, broad and profound history and culture of the Chinese nation.
The grand sacrificial ceremony this year is both the largest ritual reform in the history of worshipping the Yellow Emperor and the most standard one of such sacrificial activities. Since last year the provincial authority has invited Chinese and foreign experts and scholars in history, archaeology, painting, music, dancing and the fine arts to jointly work out an overall plan for the memorial ceremony, and to device the general environment and clothes for the host and other attendees. This year's ceremony, as experts pointed out, will give full expressions to the main purpose of carrying forward the fine tradition, history and culture of the Chinese nation and to the embodiment of national spirit.
First sacrificial ceremony involving both officials and common people
Since 1994 the state leaders have come each year to chair the ceremony. To increase the cohesion of the Chinese nation, the local authority has decided to select a person from among ordinary people to officiate at the ceremony together with officials. Guo Guangchang, board chairman of a private hi-tech group company, was luckily chosen as the non-official host. Guo told reporter excitedly, "I have been longing for taking part in the activity, because the cohesion of the Chinese nation has always been the motivation driving myself and our company forward. We can always find national self-confidence in the course of worshiping our ancestor!"
(People's Daily March 29, 2004)