Veneration of the Dead is based on the belief that the deceased, often family members have a continued existence and/or possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Some groups venerate their ancestors; some faith communities, in particular the Catholic Church, venerate saints as intercessors with God.
In some Eastern cultures, and in Native American traditions, the goal of ancestor veneration is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living and sometimes to ask for special favours or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration is to cultivate kinship values, such as filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. While far from universal, ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times. This article will examine similarities and differences in the relationships between the living and the dead. The minimum requirement for veneration offered to the dead is probably some kind of belief in an afterlife, a survival, at least for a time, of personal identity beyond death. These beliefs are far from uniform.