Confucius’s Birthday (Teacher’s Day)
A time to commemorate the birth of the teacher Confucius, perhaps the most influential man in China’s history. In Qufu, Shandong Province, China, the birthplace of Confucius, there is a two-week-long Confucian Culture Festival. In Hong Kong, observances are held by the Confucian Society at the Confucius Temple at Causeway Bay near this date. Confucius, the Latinized version of the name K’ung-fu-tzu, was born in 551 B.C.E. during the Warring States Period and developed a system of ethics and politics that stressed five virtues: charity, justice, propriety, wisdom, and loyalty. His teachings were recorded by his followers in the Analects and formed the code of ethics called Confucianism that is still the cornerstone of Chinese thought. It taught filial obedience, respect, and selflessness; the Confucian “golden rule” is “Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you.” Confucius died at the age of 73 in 479 B.C.E.
During the Cultural Revolution, Confucianism lost favor, and in the late 1960s Red Guards defaced many of the buildings in Qufu. They have since been restored, and the festival held there from late September into October attracts scholars from China and abroad. The festival opens with a ceremony accompanied by ancient music and dance and includes exhibitions and lectures on the life and teachings of Confucius and on Chinese customs.
Commemorations in Taiwan take the form of dawn services at the Confucian temples. The Confucius Temple in Tainan was built in 1665 by Gen. Chen Yunghua of the Ming Dynasty and is the oldest Confucian temple in Taiwan.
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To learn more about holidays, festivals, commemorations, holy days, feasts and fasts, and other observances from all parts of the world check out the latest edition of Holidays Around the World 2018.