Culture and Religion

I have always been more of a spiritual than a religious person. A broader term which is more applicable (I suppose it is because I have yet to figure out my stand or where I stand as yet) than big words like agnostic or atheist that puts ones’ thoughts in strict little defined boxes.

I am still finding the little lines, and it is only by pushing the little boundaries of questioning, one word at a time.

This Chinese New Year, I started pondering deeper into the rituals my family has been doing for the past 3 decades of my life. We do religious stuff, like preparing abundant tables of offerings, lighting red auspicious candles, offering joss sticks big and small and burning joss paper, to the deities and to our ancestors.

There is one little question mark though – is it really religious? My aunts and cousins and sister who are Christians or Catholics do join us too. They merely skip the joss-sticks and joss paper part of the rituals. They are not exactly rites either – we are all just common folks sincerely expressing our gratitude to the gods for having given us a good run the past year and to ask for their blessings this upcoming year.

So it has to be a matter of culture, more like a family tradition, or just our modern style get-together with a utilitarian focus. Well, this is the first time I start to recognise the nuances in things we do that do not fit into generic boxes of how and why we do it.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. From what I have read your family who skips the joss paper portion are skipping the worship portion of your holiday. As Catholics they could not participate in anything like that as it is in opposition of worshiping our Tritarian God. Interesting topic. It’s good when some traditions can still be celebrated without crossing lines 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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