Wafting incense and heavenly foods
the importance of smell in Chinese religion
Keywords:smell, China, temples, incense, devotion
The most notable impressions of religious sites and festivals in China often relate to how smells of burning incense and cooking foods help to create their special atmospheres. This may be because the Chinese word for ‘worship’ includes the order to light incense to the gods. By examining the importance of smells to a Chinese religious experience, this article analyses how scents heighten and shape people’s memories and emotions, as well as helping to foster the ‘hot and lively’ social aspects of China’s temples and religious festivals.
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