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Religion In China: Some Introductory Notes For The Intrepid Western Scholar

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Chapter Summary

The communal rituals of the Putian plains of Fujian province in southeast China are colorful, noisy, crowded, and exciting. This chapter examines the role of local ritual traditions in the daily life of rural Chinese. Prior to discussion of the ritual-events in greater detail, the chapter reviews the impact of specific definitions of "religion" on understanding of these activities. It provides a brief introduction to the contemporary ritual activities conducted by the inhabitants of the irrigated alluvial plain that was reclaimed from the Xinghua Bay of Putian County in Fujian Province of southeast China over the course of a thousand years. From the brief descriptions of the Putian plains rituals and the even briefer references to the introduction and adaptation of many different kinds of ritual traditions to Putian culture over time, one can see that contemporary ritual-events are complex, collective actions including many different participants in different roles.

Keywords:communal rituals; Fujian province; local ritual traditions; Putian plains; religion; southeast China



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