Chinese clan cultural festival demonstrates cohesiveness of national culture
Updated 16:54, 10-Nov-2018
By Xu Tingting and Li Jingjing
The Chen Clan of Yimen (Yimen Chen) Cultural Festival kicked off in De'an County last week in the north of China's Jiangxi Province.
The history of the Yimen Chen family started in 730 AD, during the Tang Dynasty when Chen Wang moved to Yimen. 
The Chen clan of Yimen originally had only several family members. However, by the beginning of the Song Dynasty, its number had reached more than 3,900 people. The clan stayed together for more than 330 years.
During that period, several thousand people with the surname Chen lived in the same place, farming and eating together. It was said that “one hundred dogs used the same trough, and were kept in the same cage.”
Since their separation under imperial order, the family members moved to different places in China with over 30 million descendants living in the country, contributing to the fittingly named "world family."
When members of the Yimen Chen family settled in new locations, the first thing they would do was hang a lantern with the characters “Yimen” in front of their houses. In some places, this practice continued even until the 1950s.

Going Home for Dinner

The theme of the festival was “Going Home for Dinner,” echoing the most important tradition of the Yimen Chen family: having a meal together. 
Chen Clan of Yimen (Yimen Chen) Cultural Festival. /CGTN Photo

Chen Clan of Yimen (Yimen Chen) Cultural Festival. /CGTN Photo

Chen Deyou, Deputy Director of the Yimen Chen association, said that in the past, "We would beat the big drum up in the mountain, with the sound of the drum spreading throughout the mountains so farmers far away would know it's time for a meal.”
During the festival, more than 5,000 people from the Chen clan of Yimen ate together to worship their ancestors. People who came for the banquet wore the same red clothes to symbolize their shared origin. 
The festival offered an opportunity for the clan to reenact the grand gathering of the clan members and have a grand meal on 500 tables.
Nowadays, the Chen clan is much larger, but family members still return to this county every year, and practice the tradition of having a meal together. 

“Yi” or Justice

A drum with the Chinese character “Yi” on it. /CGTN Photo

A drum with the Chinese character “Yi” on it. /CGTN Photo

At the ceremony, there was a huge drum with the Chinese character “Yi” on it, reflecting the spirit of the Yimen Chen family. 
The clan had created a management system predicated on "absolute justice without prejudice." The principle illustrated the clan's broader preoccupation with "love, care, and developing the world" as well as the spiritual bearing of virtue and restraint.
Mostly importantly, the clan put emphasis on “Yi,” which means "justice, righteousness, and loyalty,” based on the moral disposition to do good and the ability to do so competently.
(Video: Li Jingjing)