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The Confucius Festival in China

You would be forgiven for thinking that an event celebrating the birth of one of the greatest teachers, politicians and philosophers of all time might be a serious affair.

Qufu’s Confucius Temple

However, the celebrations which still surround great thinker Confucius’s birthday could not be more different.

Lively cultural events take place across China but where better to celebrate than Confucius’s birthplace of Qufu which holds an annual event at the end of September, running through to the first week in October?

Confucius Statue at the Confucius Temple

In his home-town  the great philosopher’s birthday is now seen as a true celebration of Chinese culture and the day is a whirlwind of ancient music and dance displays, theatre performances and even kung fu competitions.

There are also exhibitions showing off the skills found in Qufu, from calligraphy to traditional crafts, which make interesting and unique gifts to take home.

When people get peckish there is also an array of traditional Shandong cuisine on offer including seafood, steamed breads and fried corn.

As well as the cultural celebrations there is also a special ceremony to honour Confucius which takes place at daybreak on September 28 each year.

In total there are 37 precisely choreographed parts which make up the ceremony, including a procession of dancers and musicians, ending in a feast of ‘wisdom cake’ which is supposed to bring students luck with their education. Normally hundreds queue up for a nibble of the rice cake in the hope that it will make them as smart as Confucius himself!

An engraving of Confucius

If you find yourself in Qufu for the festival, it is also well worth taking a trip to Confucius’s tomb and the Temple of Confucius which make up part of the World Heritage site Three Kongs and which have become a major destination for cultural tourism in recent years.

So if you are already thinking about next year’s holiday, why not time your tour to China with the Confucius Festival?

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