“LIFE’S TWO MAIN TASKS: BUILD A HOME FOR THE LIVING & A HOME FOR THE DEAD”

- ancient saying

WHY WEAR BLACK?

A black ao ba ba (shirt) and black trousers were standard peasant dress. After planting or weeding arm-deep in patty mud, a farmer could rinse her black sleeves in a sluice and emerge looking clean.

“WITHOUT YOUR MOTHER OR YOUR FATHER OR YOUR ANCESTORS, HOW COULD YOU HAVE A LIFE? WITHOUT HOMAGE TO THEM, LIFE WOULD UNRAVEL.”

-An elder man when asked why food was offered and incense sticks lit at the family altar each morning

THE SPIRITS OF THE ANCESTORS

Houses had a sacred mystical character since they sheltered an altar for the family’s ancestors and altars for the Mother Goddess and the Spirit of the Home and the Spirit of the Sun. Behind the house, a small shrine symbolized the Spirit of the Earth. The place of honor for the ancestral altar in the house
and periodic acts of remembrance and worship supported the spirits of those who had died — who provided wise guidance to the family when they were alive — to continue to be present in the lives of the living family members and encourage them to preserve and honor the family.