ABSTRACT

In the same vein, Thompson suggests that ancestor worship plays an indispensable role in reinforcing the cohesion of the family and lineage; it is, in essence, the “symbolic cement” holding together a structure of family and lineage.2 I extend this analysis by suggesting that the demonstration of unity is actually a presentation of the family to the public for its scrutiny, which necessitates a show of cohesion. A closer examination of death ritual enactment in fact brings to light many instances of conflicts, tensions and compromises, a feature of the ritual process not often seen by outsiders. Family members quarreling among themselves are thought to be an embarrassment to the whole family as well as a mark of unfiliality to the ancestors.