Chapter 29: Ancestral Ceremony


October, 1986 - ToiShan Village, China
Ancestral Ceremonies and Feast

This all-day ceremony honors ancestors for one family (or person), many times a returning "son" and family. All those friends and relatives that can honor the family will usually bring or help prepare food, go to the Ancestral gravesites (10 miles from village), and then participate in the feast afterwards. There are many, many symbolic ceremonies at the Ancestral Home before going to the gravesites, at the gravesites itself, and of course, more ceremonies back at the Ancestral home before the actual dinner.


Starting ceremony shortly after we arrive from the city via van, right outside Ancestral Home.


Red envelopes, aka Lucky Envelopes.
Normally given out during festivals, esp. Chinese New Year's. There is usually money put inside, and given out to children.
Sam took care of this for me, giving proportionally to those that did/gave more.


10/1986 ToiShan Village, China
Crossing the bridge to get to Village;
(Donated by Chinese living outside China either through normal emigration or having been adopted who retain ties to the village.)


Entrance to Village homes

1986_ToiShan_BackEntrance 1986_ToiShan_AncestralHome_PigSty01

Left: Entrance to Ancestral home from the back side

   Center: Pig Sty right outside back entrance (home)

      Right: Immediately by front entrance of house; preparing for the feast!


More feast preparations in Ancestral home (My knees!).
Over 200 families from village attended.
Not only for the return of the "Prodigal Son", but out of respect for Sam.


Inside ancestral home, "living room";
Ken, Mavis, Misty, and Roy
Ubiquitous tea and other food


1 of many carts, taking kids to Ancestral site,
Charlene directing; Wendy holding umbrella


Walking up to Ancestral site, roast pig carried on shoulders, along with a lot of other food


Still walking up to Ancestral site, Wendy and Misty leading


Finally at the top; Charlie to the right.


John, Charlie, Chet, Sam, and Ken


"Coolie" supervisor


Note: Original parents' grave markers were made of wood and in very bad shape. This photo is from 1987 when the original markers were replaced with permanent monuments made from marble

Roast pig in the middle - yummy! And other food too!


Charlie and Ken


Symbolic meal in front on gravesites


Back at Ancestral Home. Let the feasts begin after paying respects to ancestors. There was also the symbolic burning of paper money to give to ancestors.

1987_ToiShan VillageFeast01 1987_VillageFeast01

This is the Pawn that I gave my mother when I left China. “Mommy, always keep this to remember me by.”
"She clasped the pawn tightly in her hand and was never without it until her death in 1971."
I still have that treasured pawn.
Who gave the pawn back to me?

Left: Original 1946 Adoption Paper

Right: Translated version


Although it was not written down, a verbal agreement was made between Chin Yin Zhone and Chin Moy Kwong; it stated that communications between the parents and Chin Yuen Yick would be allowed.
How much was the $1,250,000 (Chinese currency) worth in U.S. dollars at that time?

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