Ancestor worship is still quite common in many parts of the world today. The practices vary, but the underlying principles are the same. Sometimes you make sacrifices on the family altar, leave an empty spot on the table, keep the graves in good shape and so on. Many of these things are practiced in cultures that are not traditionally seen as “worshiping” their ancestors. These practices are there to ensure that nobody is forgotten completely. And that’s something we all want, isn’t it?
In ancient Roman and Greek cultures (and in many Asian cultures too) the ancestors whose names are forgotten and whose graves go untended may rise up as angry ghosts, seeking revenge on those neglecting their duties as descendants. In some cultures it is even possible for families to “out-source” this worship to temples, so that they keep the ancestor’s name alive and the descendants can live their lives without fears of ancestral retribution.
But this worship and care taking isn’t a one-way street. Indeed the ancestors watch over their living descendants. In many cultures they are believed to provide protection and good fortune. Sometimes they give advise or warnings in dreams or in omens. By revering the ancients and keeping their memories alive, the living gain a limited access to the knowledge of the netherworld.
Calling Your Grand-children, VERY Long-Distance
For as long he has lived, Jake has done the honorable thing and observed the proper rituals and practices. On the appointed dates, he has sacrificed to his family’s ancestors. He has kept the family mausoleum clean and made offering to the temple on behalf of his ancestors. He has been a very reverent descendant. He has even asked his parents to let him care for the ancestral shrine. But despite his observance and reverence, he does these things out of sense of duty and tradition, and not of true faith, and because his childhood friend is the priestess at the temple. So he is somewhat shocked to receive a visitation from his long-departed grandparents…
The grandparents are worried about Jake, as he is still unmarried and spends more time reading comics and playing games than trying to find a suitable wife. Also, the cleaning agent used on their gravestone is too harsh. He really needs to start looking for that wife, how else are the graves going to be looked after when he’s dead?
So now Jake is stuck with the spirits of his grandparents that nobody else can see. Even his parents think their son is going crazy. The upside is, that some of the advise the spirits give is actually quite good and their presence seems to improve his fortune. However, having two nosy ghosts following you everywhere and paying close attention to every girl you meet can be quite daunting for a shy young man. Also, their constant reminders about the sorry state of his flat and the quality of his food start to wear Jake down.
Fortunately, Jake’s childhood friend Aurora is the famous spirit priestess and beauty queen who runs the local temple. For years, Jake has tried to work up the nerve to ask Aurora out for a date, but his shyness has made him hesitate every time. Now Aurora may be the only one who can help him banish his nosy guests… or at least satisfy their desire for a marriage.
Things get even more complicated when Jake’s other ancestors start showing up, each with new demands and unfinished business for their descendant to help with. Apparently, word has gotten around in the family afterlife.