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Chinese Characters and Sacrificial Worship (Ⅱ)


In ancient times, people were limited in terms of both productivity and their cognitive abilities. At all times, nature threatened people’s survival. People were thus afraid of this kind of mystical power, and believed that the gods (神) were creating trouble. The character “神” consists of “示” and “申”. “申(电)” means “the lightning that appears in the sky when it rains”.

Lightning is both mystical and frightening. Whenever thunder and lightning occurred, people believed that the gods had come. People believed that the gods created and controlled everything and wielded unlimited power and, therefore, were in great awe of them. As a result, every year, the Chinese people made offerings to the gods and prayed for their blessing. And Chinese people made offerings to different “神” at different time to express different wishes.

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