Tuesday, February 23, 2010

China: Shanghang County(上杭縣)

Shanghang county(上杭縣), Longyan city(龙岩), Fujian Province; is also a Hakka county. The Ting River or Ting Jiang flow from Changting(长汀), through Wuping(武平), Shanghang(上杭), Yongding (永定), until Dapu(大埔),Meizhou city(梅州)in Guangdong Province. Ting Jiang(汀江)is known as the mother river of Hakka people(客家母親河), the areas surrounding the basin where the river flow are all inhabited by Hakka people, from Fujian Province to Guangdong Province. Changting(长汀) was the capital of Hakka culture(客家首府), Meizhou(梅州) was the capital of oversea Hakka people(“世界客都”). Yongding(永定) have Hakka tulou or earth buildings(客家土楼). The Hakka cultural belt along the Ting River is the rich information source for Hakka ancestral root.

Ancestral temples(祖祠)

Shanghang (上杭) was also the important source for Hakka culture. The city have more than 30 historical ancestral temples(祖祠)or memorial hall for Hakka surnames. Ancestral temple is also known as clan houses by oversea Chinese. This is the place they clan people will hold the memorial services or activities(祭祖活動). The largest being the ancestral temple for Lee or Li surname(李氏). Li Ancestral Temple(李氏大宗祠) in Shanghang is known as Hakka No.1 ancestral temple.


Zupu(族譜) is the ancestry books or genealogy book or clan register, "Zu" means clan, "pu" is the book of records or register, so Zupu is the book that recorded your ancestral lines(祖先) and clan or family history(家族史). It is also called Jiapu(家谱) which literally means family book or family register, where you can trace all your family root(家世). It is the Chinese tradition to record family members in a book, including every male born in the family, who they are married to, when they died, decoration or award obtained etc. It also contain family chart. Traditionally, only males' names are recorded in the books, but recently female names are allowed to be recorded. The Zupu are to be updated every 30 years(“三十年一修”), but with the new technology, the updates now can be more frequent.

During the Cultural revolution in the 60s , many of the books were forcefully destroyed or burned to ashes, because they were considered by the Chinese communist party as among the Four Old Things to be destroyed(破四旧运动). Therefore much of the valuable cultural history was destroyed forever. Fortunately in Taiwan, there are many people who still keep their genealogy books, some of which are even a few thousand years old.

For information, the longest family tree in the world today is that of the Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius (孔子, 551 BC-479 BC), and he is the descendant of King Tang (1675 BC-1646 BC). The tree spans more than 80 generations, and includes more than 2 million members. An international effort involving more than 450 branches around the world was started in 1998 to retrace and revise this family tree. The latest findings will be published in 2009 by the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee to coincide with the 2560th anniversary of the birth of the Chinese thinker. This latest edition of Confucius Ancestral Jiapu《孔子世家谱》is expected to include some 1.3 million living members who are scattered around the world today.

A rich collection of ancestry books or Jupu(族譜)for Hakka people are kept in the local museum or House of Hakka Zupu(客家族譜館)at Shanghang. They now have a collection of zupu for 131 Hakka surnames, about 2,000 clan families and 10,000 copies zupu.

Zupu is the rich source of history not only for the clan, family; but also rich source of national history and human history. It has the historical and cultural value to be preserved.

If you are looking for your Hakka root, this may be the place for good research.


汀江流域除了流貫福建長汀,更經過武平、上杭、永定,廣東大埔等縣境,其中位於汀江中游的上杭縣是客家文化的重要發源地之一,不僅保留30客家姓氏始祖的祖祠、祖墓,後代子孫遍布世界各地,因此每年都有海內外鄉親前來尋根謁祖。位在上杭的李氏大宗祠,建築規模宏大並保存相當完整,因而被稱為客家第一宗祠。而在台灣桃園也有一群李氏子孫,雖然已經不會說客語,每年還是會推派代表回到宗祠祭祖。2000年時,上杭縣成立了客家族譜館,如今已收藏131個姓氏,約2000多部、1萬多冊的客家族譜。吳怡君、李鴻 祺、范群宏繼續帶我們到「客家族都」上杭看看。

No comments:

Post a Comment