Confucius Day is on September 29 and we’re looking forward to celebrating it by reflecting on the teachings of the great philosopher, distinguished teacher, and respected scholar. Today, Confucius is respected far beyond China where he was born, and notable figures around the world cite his teachings and philosophies as having a significant influence on their lives for over 2,500 years.
History of CONFUCIUS DAY
Born Kǒng Qiū and fondly called ‘Master Kong,’ Confucius is believed to have been born on September 28, 551 B.C., in the 22nd year of the reign of Emperor Xiang. He was born in the small town of Qufu, in the state of Lu, in what is now the Chinese Province of Shandong [or Shantung]. Some historians say Confucius’s father, Shu-liang was a nobleman and soldier. Sadly, when Confucius was only three years old, his father died and left him to grow up in poverty with his widowed mother.
Undeterred by his changed fortune and the ideological crisis prevalent in his early years, Confucius became an outstanding student-turned-master who devoted his life to creating an ideological change in his time. It wasn’t Confucius’s intention to start the first private school in China when he turned 22, but he was surrounded by able-bodied young disciples who looked up to him and called him ‘master.’ His earliest disciples were named ‘Yan Hui Zigong,’ and ‘Zilu’ — some of whom subsequently became noblemen and political administrators.
While in his 50s, Confucius was appointed Lu’s Grand Minister of Justice. Later, he spent his last years as an itinerant teacher spreading his philosophies across China. Although he regretted that his philosophies never had the expected influence on Chinese culture at the time of his death, years later, his teachings became the official philosophy of the Chinese government. Confucius didn’t establish a religious order, rather, he emphasized the need for the people to return to personal virtues — such as ‘chung’ and ‘shu,’ (equal love for self and others). According to him, these two virtues were the main components of ‘jen,’ or humanity, which is the foundation of Confucianism.
CONFUCIUS DAY timeline
Confucius is born in Qufu, China, on September 28.
Confucius dies on November 21, a year after the demise of his son, Tzu-lu.
Confucius’s followers pen handwritten analects, or “Selected Sayings,” containing the teachings and ideas of Confucius.
Hong Kong officially commences celebrating the birth date of Confucius.
CONFUCIUS DAY FAQs
Where is the birthplace of Confucius?
Qufu village, state of Lu.
How is Confucius’s birthday celebrated in China?
The annual festival marking Confucius Day in China begins early in the morning at the Confucius Temple in Qufu and features traditional music and dances, with participants donning beautiful traditional costumes. Tourists from around the world also join the celebration.
Why is Confucius Day related to Teacher’s Day?
Confucius’s birthday is also observed as Teacher’s Day in China and Taiwan because Confucius believed in education without discrimination. Confucius’s disciples came from different social classes, and he accommodated them all.
CONFUCIUS DAY Activities
Reflect on Confucian philosophies
You could use this opportunity to ponder on the teachings of Confucius. These include the significance of honesty, mutual respect, filial piety, sincerity, temperance, dutifulness, self-discipline, wisdom, and courage. Try to understand how you may apply these concepts to evoke change and become a better person.
Take a trip to China
If you love sightseeing, you could visit Qufu (Shandong), Confucius’s birthplace, and catch a live experience of Confucius Day in China. The festival begins at 4 A.M. and features musical performances, traditional dances, local costumes, and other cultural rites at the massive Confucius Temple in Qufu.
Eat the Confucian way
Apart from studying Confucian teachings on politics and social ideologies, you could also learn about Confucius’s philosophies on food and apply them. Some of these food philosophies include: serving food in chopped bits, consuming properly cooked, fresh meals only, and eating meals in moderation.
5 Captivating Facts About Confucius
Confucius’s famous sayings
Confucius taught many philosophies, and 499 of his famous sayings are known around the world today.
‘Qui’ means ‘hill’
Confucius’s given name of ‘Qui’ means ‘hill’ because he was born with a bump on his head.
“Analects of Confucius”
The “Lun-Yu” or “Analects of Confucius” detailing the teachings of Confucius were compiled by his followers after his death.
Confucius’ favorite music
Confucius loved shao, a type of ancient music, so much that at first listen, he commented, “I never imagined that music could be this beautiful!”
Confucius and humaneness
Among many of Confucius’ teachings, was humaneness, which he summarized as: “Do not impose on others what you do not want [others to impose on you].”
Why We Love CONFUCIUS DAY
It teaches virtues
Confucius Day celebrates the important virtues and philosophies upon which Confucianism is established. It’s a day to meditate on love, filial piety, courage, harmony, friendship, and other significant ideals of the ancient philosopher.
It celebrates Confucius’ life and death
Apart from celebrating his birthday and life of modesty and piety, Confucius Day also venerates the death of the ancient teacher. Confucius’s life teaches that everyone can stand up for what is right even in the midst of a decadent society
It celebrates teachers
In China and Taiwan, Confucius’s birthday is also observed as Teacher’s Day. This is understandable, as Confucius is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest teachers.
CONFUCIUS DAY dates