China on Friday celebrated the 2,569th birthday of Confucius, the ancient educator and philosopher regarded as an icon of traditional Chinese culture. For thousands of years, Confucius’ teachings and philosophy have greatly impacted people around the world and are still present in today’s society.
After decades of neglect, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), which initially condemned him as feudal, began projecting him as an icon of ancient Chinese culture.
Annual commemorations of Confucius’ birth started in 478 BC, the year after his death. There are currently about 1,300 Confucius temples worldwide, many of which hold ceremonies on the anniversary of his birth.
A ceremony was held in eastern China’s Shandong Province on Friday to mark the 2,569th birthday of Confucius. The ceremony, held in the city of Qufu, Confucius’ hometown, welcomed government officials, UNESCO officials, scholars, students and descendants of Confucius.
More than 1,400 students and residents recited classic quotes from Lunyu, or the Analects, a collection of ideas and sayings from the Chinese philosopher, while ceremonial dances were performed at the Confucius Temple.
Confucius (551-479 BC) founded Confucianism, a school of thought that deeply influenced later generations. He was also the first Chinese person to set up private schools and enrol students from all walks of life.
He is believed to have been born on September 28.