Confucianism, the Literati, and Chinese Imperial Traditions

Holidays and Regular Observances

Do Confucians celebrate the birthdays of any religious figures?

September 28 of each year marks the birthday of Confucius in Taiwan, for example, and there it has also been declared Teachers’ Day. In the People’s Republic of China, celebrations of the day have been forbidden since the Maoist revolution of 1948, largely because of Confucianism’s long-standing association with imperial rule. Taiwanese celebrations, however, are still elaborate and traditional, beginning at six in the morning according to ancient practice. Ceremonies commence with ritual drumming, followed by a procession in which participants dressed in ancient regalia carry in symbols to welcome the spirit of Confucius. Processional symbols include a royal canopy and fan, as well as ritual long-handled axes. In the capital city, Taipei, the celebration is modeled on the ancient pattern in which Literati bureaucrats performed the main rituals. There, the mayor presides over the various ranks of governmental employees and educational administrators, joined by ranks of students of different ages. Birthdays of particular deities or immortals do not play a role in Confucianism or CIT as they do in Daoism and CCT.


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