China's only native religion, all others (Buddhism, Christianity) being imports, Confucianism and Taoism being a set of values rather than a set religion. The worship of the spirits of the dead relatives, be out out of fear or respect, is practiced mainly in China, Japan and India, but evidence shows that it was practiced in ancient European civilizations as well.

In Asian cultures, the worship of ancestors is focused on family, hence the importance of a male heir in Asia, for keeping a family name continuous is considered very important. Luminaries in the family are likely to be honored, for example, my great-grandfather, a very successful Chinese industrialist, always gets a big share of money burnt in his honor.

In additional to individual extended families, there are often the communal worship of great figures in the past. For example, Guan Yu, the Chinese God of War, was a real person whose deeds got him deified. The Yellow Emperor is close to being a God in China. In Japan, there was the worship of the imperial family.

Ancestor worship takes place in many forms, the offering of food, burning of incense, prayers, sacrifice of money and worldly items, and other ceremonies. One would appeal to the ancestors for such diverse things as a good harvest, financial success, or a happy and long-lasting marriage.

This practice was frowned on by the Jesuit missionaries, and served to drive a rift between Chinese Christians and the more traditional folk in China. The Roman Catholic Church today still refuses to admit Asian Christians who continue ancestor worship, however, their stance has been wavering somewhat this decade.

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