In many cultures sacred memories extend not only to specific loved ones, but to all who have gone before, providing an unbroken link to the past. Asians and American Indians are among peoples who believed that the lives of ancestors lived on in the spirit world: Rituals and offerings, such as Hawaiian hula dances, are presented to nourish them.
Ancestral memories are kept by tribal elders, who also act as memory banks for anything else a culture considers sacred – connections with people, animals, the land. Their deeply felt stories and ceremonies assist the entire community in remembering important relationships that would otherwise be forgotten. We celebrate the life stories of our parents, grandparents, and other ancestors and express gratitude for the gifts they bestowed, through music, art, ceremony and other remembrances.
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