Of Smoke, Paper and Wood.

Happy New Year, and New Decade! These photos are from the inside of a Chinese temple along the Lung Yeuk Tai Heritage Trail in Fanling, and then an Ancestral Hall on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail in Tai Po, Hong Kong.

The coils are incense, burning slowly. Incense is also available in the more familiar stick form, placed in incense holders by worshipers. I'm still trying to figure out the purpose of incense, and so far I've gathered that the way to connect between the earthly life and the other life (of ghosts, ancestors, gods, deities) is through burning. I think the sticks are offerings, along with fruit and three cups of tea.
Ancestral worship is probably one of the more foreign (to us western reared people) aspects of Chinese religion. Ancestors are held in great reverence, and should your clan be a wealthy one, you can build a large Ancestral Hall. In it are two large courtyards, one in front of the other. At the very back of the ancestral hall, there is a wall featuring multitudes of these rectangular plaques, topped with folded gold paper triangles. Each of the plaques, I think, represents one ancestor whose generation number is inscribed on the wood. There's obviously still plenty that I don't know about what's going on here.