Chinese honor Yellow Emperor on Tomb Sweeping Day

Updated: 2016-04-04 15:31

By Ma Lie in Yan'an, Shaanxi(

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Chinese honor Yellow Emperor on Tomb Sweeping Day

A ceremony that pays respects to Huangdi, who is regarded as the initiator of Chinese civilization, is held on Qianshan Mountain, Yan'an city's Huangling county, Shaanxi province, April 4, 2016. [Photo/VCG]

More than 10,000 people gathered in front of the mausoleum of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, on Monday morning to pay their respects to the legendary figure regarded as the initiator of Chinese civilization.

At 9:50 am, the rituals got under way, with yellow flags and a 56-meter-long cloth-made dragon fluttering in the breeze outside the stately tomb on Qianshan Mountain, in Yan'an city's Huangling county, Shaanxi province.

Drums were pounded and bells rang out in the light morning drizzle, as the ceremony sponsored by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, the State Council's Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and the government of Shaanxi province was broadcast live to the world.

Hu Heping, acting governor of Shaanxi province, read an elegiac address in ancient Chinese prose.

"Today, Tomb Sweeping Day, sons and daughters of the Chinese nation hold a memorial ceremony for our ancestor the Yellow Emperor, who began the Chinese civilization," he said.

"Our civilization has a long history and the nation's revival needs our hard work."

Monday's ceremony was held to coincide with Tomb Sweeping Day, also known as the Qingming Festival, when Chinese traditionally honor their ancestors by burning incense and placing flowers on tombs.

The rituals on Qianshan Mountain included 550 actors and college students performing a worship dance.

The Yellow Emperor is said to have been born in Xinzheng, central China's Henan province, about 5,000 years ago.

He has been credited with many feats, such as introducing the systems of law and government to humankind, civilizing the Earth and defeating his rival, the Yan Emperor.

Modern-day Chinese sometimes refer to themselves as the "Descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperor".