Nation observes Confucius anniversary
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-29 07:31

Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC), the revered Chinese thinker and educator, received respect at his 2557th birthday anniversary ceremonies from people across the Straits yesterday.

At his hometown Qufu in East China's Shandong Province 2,557 people including Zhou Tienong, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and senior officials from Taiwan Province, attended a ceremony.

"The rules and procedures of the ceremony have changed at times since the rule of Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD). But the core of the ceremony has formed an unchanged culture phenomenon in China," said Liu Xubing, deputy director at the municipal tourism department in Qufu.

A grand sacrificial ceremony and an international academic forum on the role of Confucian theories in the contemporary world, particular in the building of a harmonious Chinese society and a harmonious world, were staged yesterday in the ancestral hall of the Confucian family in Quzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province.

Attended by about 200 Confucianism scholars, amateur researchers of Confucian classics from across China and six foreign countries including Poland, Russian, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the United States and at least 1,500 local citizens, the two events brought the fourth Confucius Culture Festival, kicked off on September 8, to its climax. They also drew huge public attention to the picturesque southern city of Quzhou.

Little known to most Chinese today, the city of Quzhou since early 12th century has been the home to about 30,000 of Confucius's descendants, the second largest community after Qufu.

Quzhou is also home to the Confucian ancestral hall for the southern branch of the Confucian family, the only other one of its kind in the world after the ancestral hall in Qufu, according to Liu Shifan, vice-director of China Confucius Foundation.

In 1128, Kong Duanyou, an officially recognized direct descendant of the 48th generation in the Confucian family tree, moved most of his family members, along with Southern Song Dynasty Emperor Gaozong (Zhao Gou), from Qufu while fleeing the invading Jin army. They headed south, and finally resettled in Quzhou,

Since then, Quzhou has served as the second largest centre for studying, interpreting and spreading Confucian concepts in South China, said Kong Xiangkai, a Confucian descendant of the 75th generation in Quzhou.

A research centre on the development of Confucian theories and their modern significance in southern China was opened yesterday in the city.