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Afterlife in Disney Films

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I should have prayed to the ancestors for luck


Mulan is Disney’s retelling of an old Chinese folktale. It is about a young Chinese female who impersonates a male to take her father’s place in war. Her ancestors attempt to send a guardian to bring her back home. The dragon, Mushu, agrees, but when he meets Mulan, he decides to help her. Together, with the other men soldiers, they fight for China against the Huns.



An example of afterlife in Disney’s Mulan is represented in the way of ancestors. When a family member would die, they would still watch over the living relatives. I noticed in the film that instead of praying to a god, Mulan and her father prayed to the ancestors for guidance, protection, good fortune and help. Ancestor veneration (ancestor worshipping) was very common of that time and alters or shrines were dedicated to them. People would pray to their ancestors for honour and glory for their family, as that was considered very important in their culture. Filial piety (respecting parents and ancestors) was very important. They wanted to honour and not disgrace their ancestors so the ancestors would send guardians. These guardians would protect and guide the family.