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15 July 2015

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Memorial Ceremony to Worship Emperor Yan

2021-09-17 Download Print

A memorial ceremony to worship Emperor Yan, a legendary ancestor of the Chinese nation, will be held at the Mausoleum of Emperor Yan in Yanling County, Zhuzhou City on September 23. The Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival will be celebrated on the same day.

The ceremony is sponsored by the Hunan Provincial People’s Government and organized by the Zhuzhou Municipal People's Government and Yanling County People's Government. The Mausoleum of Emperor Yan is a blessed place for the Chinese ancestor Shennong. It is located in Luyuanbei, 19 kilometers west of Yanling County. It is hailed as the "First Tomb of China" by Chinese descendants at home and abroad.

The "Ceremony to Worship Emperor Yan" has become a comprehensive cultural carrier covering music, dance, literature, art and other fields in the development of the Chinese civilization. It inherits traditional culture of the Chinese nation. In 2006, the ceremony was selected into China's first batch of intangible cultural heritage list. In 2012, it was rated as "The World's Top Ten Most Influential Cultural Events on Seeking out Roots".

The Mausoleum of Emperor Yan is now a national key cultural relics protection unit, a national patriotism education demonstration base, a national patriotism education base for returned overseas Chinese, a national 5A-level tourist attraction, a national scenic spot, a cross-Strait exchange base, and one of China's best farming culture tourist attractions, China's top ten classical mausoleums, Hunan's top ten cultural heritage items, one of the eight new views of Xiaoxiang, and Hunan Province's best tourist attractions.

In recent years, the Mausoleum of Emperor Yan has successfully hosted large-scale events such as the ceremony to pay homage to Emperor Yan, the cross-Strait cultural ceremony to worship Shennong, and the launching ceremony of the Emperor Yan's Blessing-giving tour in Taiwan. The scenic area has received more than 20 million people from home and abroad and held more than 5,000 cultural activities.

Emperor Yan - also known as Shennong or "the Divine Farmer" - first emerged as a legendary figure among the Chinese people.

He is celebrated for introducing major agricultural innovations to the Chinese people of ancient times. He is credited with the invention of "slash-and-burn cultivation" and for devising tools, such as the plough. He is also said to have sampled hundreds of plants in a bid to find the ideal ingredients to produce herbal medicines. He also pioneered the founding of markets for bartering and trade.

His achievements, alongside those of fellow tribal leader, Huangdi ("the Yellow Emperor"), have long seen the two of them esteemed as the co-founders of both the Chinese nation and its civilization. This is why, traditionally, Chinese people refer to themselves as the descendants of Emperor Yan and Yellow Emperor.

This article is from Hunan Provincial Government www.enghunan.gov.cn. 

Translator: Xiao Juan

Chinese source: Voice of Hunan