It always amazes me where you find Chinese altars. This one was spotted in the middle of a palm oil plantation close to Batang Berjuntai in Malaysia.
Chinese people use altar tables in homes, businesses and temples to give offerings to religious deities or ancestors. People also use these ornate constructions as non-religious decorations.
In Chinese Culture
The Chinese people believe that ancestors live on after death, watch over their descendants and influence their daily lives, according to the British Museum. Family members use altars to give offerings to dead ancestors.
Religious Taoists in China use the altar for ceremonies and for presenting offerings to their deities and immortals.
Unlike Taoists, Chinese Buddhists do not use the altar table to give offerings to Buddha; they believe he is enlightened and is in no need of symbolic gifts. The offerings are given in remembrance of his teachings and as a symbol of respect.
The rites and rituals that require an altar table often coincide with holidays or particular times of the day. Buddhists often give offerings in the mornings, while veneration of the dead can happen any time or on Chinese holidays.
Believers typically choose incense, fruits, vegetables and other foods as offerings when using the altar table for rituals. Traditionally, after the ceremony is complete, the participants take away the food so they can eat it, leaving the altar table mostly clear until its next use.