Why Do We Pay Homage to “Hou Tu” Before Ancestors During Qingming Festival?

后土

While tomb-sweeping, have you noticed a small stone tablet within the ancestors' grave area inscribed with the characters “Hou Tu”? Have you ever wondered why do we pay homage to "Hou Tu" before our ancestors?

Folk belief holds that wherever there is land, there is a land deity. Therefore, graveyards naturally have their land deity, "Hou Tu" who is responsible for guarding and protecting the land.

Hence, whenever we sweep tombs we first pay respects to "Hou Tu" to express gratitude for protecting our ancestors. Only after that do we pay homage to our ancestors.

Another interpretation is that the "Hou Tu" beside the graveyard is actually the Earth Deity. As the guardian and spirit of the cemetery, the Earth Deity not only ensures the peace and prosperity of the ancestors but also wards off evil spirits. Since everything relies on the protection of the Earth Deity, people traditionally pay homage to "Hou Tu" first during tomb-sweeping.

#万富 #继承传统

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