Friday, December 11, 2009

Tai Shan - Chin Village

It had rained overnight but by morning it was relatively dry (15 Nov 2009). We are traveling with my parents, both my sisters, my oldest brother, a niece, and a few other relatives and will meet up with a contingent of even more relatives from the San Francisco Bay Area in my Father's village.
We had all come for the dedication of a new building in the village. It was going to be a huge celebration with a thousand people in attendance.
We were ripe with anticipation because this one day was the focus of our entire 10-day trip together.

It had been twenty-three years since I accompanied my parents on their last visit to the Chin Village, their only other return to my dad's birthplace in over 60 years.

We arrived at 9 am and followed the procession over a small bridge into the village. Things were well under way by then but we had other business to tend to before joining the dedication ceremony.

We were met by relatives and quickly whisked-off to my father's houses in the village to pay our respects.

The entryway to my father's house.

The shrine in the main room of the house.
Every home has a shrine where all the ceremonial duties are performed. It represents the soul of the house and no home would be without one.

A chicken, roast pork, and rice wine was laid out as an offering and incense was lit and placed in the alter of the shrine.

My parents sitting on their wedding bed in the main bedroom. They last slept here over 60 years ago.

Firecrackers were set off after we paid our respect at the shrine in the house. We then made our way to the dedication of the new building.

The kitchen area.

A poem left on the wall by a previous occupant.

No one lives in the house now as there are more buildings in the village than people to occupy them.
Most empty homes, including my father's, have a caretaker who generally keeps the place clean and watches over the property.

This village, although a bit larger than many, is typical of most of the villages in this area of Southern China.
Tai Shan is the main city in this area of provincial Guangdong (Canton). It lies about 140 kilometers west/northwest of Hong Kong. The Chin Village sits just outside the small town of Chong Lou in the Tai Shan area.
Tai Shan contains twenty townships which are sub-divided into 503 residential communities containing 3655 natural villages. This is one of those villages.

The village buildings are always lumped-together surrounded by fields of rice and other crops.
Most of the tightly grouped single story brick buildings were built over 100 years ago. Some sill living there with close ties with their overseas relatives have remodeled homes.

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