The Souvenir of Western Women/Home Life of Chinese Women in the West

Home Life of Chinese Women in the West

By MRS. W. S. HOLT, City Missionary

THE contrast between the home life of Chinese women under the influence of Christianity, and that without it, is marked (though the home life of the non-Christian undergoes some change when brought in contact with American life). However, the force of early training and inherited notions is with difficulty overcome. Women have greater liberty here, and often exercise it, yet there are some who do not, and seldom venture even upon the streets. When asked why, they say they are ashamed, believing, according to their early training, that it is immodest for them to appear in public.

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In non-Christian homes idolatry is always in evidence. Before a picture an ornamental candle is burning, and also sticks of smoking incense, showing that worship is being rendered to the divinity in which the occupant of the home believes, even though she is not in the attitude of worship, and may be engaged in household duties, or perhaps entertaining a guest. Sometimes an idol is seen, though not always; a picture serves the purpose, or often a religious sentence upon the wall. This is common in places of business. In the front of the entrance under a table will be seen a vessel with oil in which is a wick on fire; on the wall near the lamp will be found characters, which are words of welcome to the local divinity. This is idolatry without an image.

The changed and greatly improved conditions of the Chinese woman's home life under the influence of Christianity is alone sufficient to warrant every effort possible to Christianize these people, the "Celestials" so called.