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Ancestral temples continue to bring family members together

Updated: 2016-04-04 06:13
By Cang Wei in Wuxi, Jiangsu and Zhu Lixin in Hefei (chinadaily.com.cn)

Ancestral temples continue to bring family members together

Xu Jiacai, 72, said he once witnessed the whole scene of a prodigal son of a family who was tied to a tree in the courtyard of the temple and beaten by seniors as punishment for his actions.[Photo by Zhu Lixin/China Daily]

In the Xu ancestral hall, the tablet of the most senior ancestor belongs to the one who first started living in Leima. The other tablets belong to the three generations of his descendants. There are no tablets for the later generations because more time and space are required for them.

Xu Jiacai said he looks forward to the day when the hospital buildings can be removed and the temple is able to recover its original scale.

"Urbanization will inevitably distance our clan members, but I think they will get more curious about where they come from. They will attach even more importance to the ancestral halls in the future," the senior Xu said.

A new urban district is officially being planned in Leima and most of its remaining rural structures are expected to be demolished.

Fortunately for the Xu family, their ancestral hall has been listed as a protected cultural relic — ensuring its presence for future generations.

More than 10 temples in Huishan have also been listed as key cultural sites under State protection. Specialists of cultural studies and local government employees are working hard to prepare for a UNESCO World Heritage application to better protect the town.

"It's rare for so many ancient temples to be situated in a small town," Li Wenyang said. "We hope that by protecting the temples, we can also help people retain their traditional values.

"The ancient temples are a physical record of our merit, achievements and experiences. They are like museums, offering history silently to people who are interested in learning more about themselves."

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