China observes 2,566th anniversary of Confucius's birth
Ceremonies were held in a number of Chinese cities on Sept 28 to celebrate the 2,566th anniversary of the birth of ancient Chinese sage and educator Confucius.
In Qufu City, hometown of Confucius in east China's Shandong Province, more than 2,000 people marched toward the Confucius Temple, where ceremonial dancing was performed. The participants included government officials, UNESCO officials, scholars, students and the descendants of Confucius.
Representatives offered flower baskets in front of a statue of Confucius. Nearly 1,800 students and residents recited classic quotes from Lunyu, or the Analects, by the ancient thinker.
Confucius (551-479 BC), an educator and philosopher, founded Confucianism, a school of thought that deeply influenced later generations. He was also the first Chinese person to set up private schools and enroll students from all walks of life. He is believed to have been born on Sept. 28.
More than 500 people bowed to the statue of Confucius at Yuelu Academy in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province. They also recited his classics together.
The activity was intended to show respect for teachers and promote the traditional culture of the Chinese nation, said Zhu Hanmin with Yuelu Academy.
A ceremony was held at the Confucius Temple in Beijing, despite a drizzle.
For thousands of years, Confucius has been regarded as a symbol of China's traditional culture, as well as the country's intellectuals.
He was venerated as a great sage in ancient China, and despised as a regressive pedant during the decade-long Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
After the reform and opening up policy in the late 1970s, respect for traditional Chinese culture was restored, and Confucius Institutes have become a feature of Chinese culture's influence abroad.
Annual commemorations of Confucius started in 478 BC, the year after his death. There are about 1,300 Confucius temples in China and other countries and regions. Many of them hold ceremonies on the anniversary of his birth.