Confucianism, the Literati, and Chinese Imperial Traditions

Holidays and Regular Observances

What are the major festivities historically associated with CIT?

Each year on the day before the winter solstice, the emperor and his retinue visited the Temple of Heaven for an elaborate event. When paying homage to Heaven and Earth, the emperor would perform gestures of humility by kneeling three times and prostrating himself nine times. When he sacrificed to other powers, such as the sun, the moon, and the gods with power over the forces of nature, the emperor did not perform those rituals of self-abasement. At the Forbidden City’s Hall of Supreme Harmony, major sacred events included the enthronement of a new emperor, royal weddings, an event held every ten years called the Great Anniversary, announcement of results of civil service examinations, and celebrations of the winter solstice and new year. In the Hall of Middle Harmony, the emperor formulated decrees to be made public in royal temples at all the various seasonal festivities. Imperial officials designated by the emperor, or local administrators in the case of smaller events, took care of the regular agriculturally significant occasions throughout the country.


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