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Festival to commemorate the greatest thinker of China
By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-09-23 13:49

To commemorate the greatest thinker and educator of China, the 2009 China (Qufu) International Confucius Cultural Festival will be held from September 27 to 30 in Qufu, a city in southwest Shandong province, also known as Confucius' hometown.

The annual festival is a large international celebration integrating academic exchanges, culture, tourism, economy, science and commerce.

It has been held around Confucius's birthday - September 28 - since 1984.

The primary purpose of the festival is commemorating Confucius's great contributions to Chinese culture. It also aims to strengthen international cultural exchanges and promote cultural heritage and national identity.

This year's festival will be composed of five major activities: a memorial ceremony, the release of the 8th update of the Confucius Genealogy, and the award ceremonies for the Confucius Prize for Literacy, Culture and Tourism.

Confucius Prize for Literacy is noted as the first international prize approved by the UNESCO which was named after a Chinese.

The Confucius Prize for Culture and the Confucius Prize for Tourism are dedicated to recognizing the contributions of outstanding individuals, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations in the two fields.

The festival will also see the release of the update of Confucius genealogy, which is the world's most extensive family tree to date. The compilation of the

new genealogy has taken place for more than a decade at a cost of over 10 million yuan. Viewed as the link for the descendants of Confucius, this genealogy is expected to draw his descendants from all around the world to Qufu.

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Besides these major activities, a series of related events are scheduled to make the festival even more engaging. Among them are the international academic seminar for the 2,560th anniversary of Confucius's birth, an online activity called "The Dialogue Between the Contemporary Times and Confucius," a CCTV special program for the festival, the 2009 Summit Forum on Businesspeople with Confucian Traditions, as well as the First Forum on Confucianism Influence on Honest and Clean Governments.

The online activity of "The Dialogue Between the Contemporary Times and Confucius," begun in July will last to October. To date, more than 3 million people have participated in this activity. In addition, a large-scale singing and dancing drama - "Confucius" - will debut during the festival and is expected to become a regular event performed year-round.

Since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), the thought of Confucius has extensively influenced China and other neighboring countries. Over the past 2000 centuries, people have held all kinds of activities to commemorate this sage.

This year's event is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education, the National Tourism Administration and the provincial government of Shandong.