Tens of thousands of Chinese from home and overseas gathered on Saturday to commemorate the Yellow Emperor, the legendary ancestor of the Chinese nation, before his tomb at Huangling County in the northwest province of Shaanxi.
A grand ceremony was staged before the Yellow Emperor Temple, covering some 11,000 square meters. People have worshipped their ancestors there for hundreds of years.
The Qingming Festival, when Chinese traditionally remember their dead, mostly family members and relatives, was held on Saturday this year.
Xu Jialu, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Luo Haocai, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference - joined by local government officials, representatives of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and more than 1,000 overseas Chinese - bowed and presented baskets of flowers and fruit at the Yellow Emperor Mausoleum.
The sacrificial ceremonies started in 442 BC. The largest ceremony was held by Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), with 180,000 people present.
In 1992, the government started the largest restoration project of the mausoleum, and set up a foundation to raise money for the project. The whole mausoleum complex covers 25 square kilometers, with an investment of more than 330 million yuan (US$39.76 million.)
Donations have exceeded 88 million yuan, of which more than 12 million yuan is from overseas Chinese.
More than 1 million compatriots from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and overseas Chinese from more than 50 countries and regions have visited to commemorate the Yellow Emperor in the last 10 years.
(eastday.com April 7, 2003)