Though not widely celebrated, the birthday of China's most influential philosopher is still observed by many people, in Hong Kong as elsewhere in Asia.
The great philosopher and scholar, rivalled in fame only by Lao Tse, the founding sage of Taoism, preached a doctrinal system that emphasised strict formal ritual, learning and cultivation and respect for one's elders. Filial devotion and respect for one's ancestors is still central to the observation of his birthday. The five virtues emphasised in Confucianism are charity, justice, propriety, wisdom and loyalty.
The birthday is celebrated with relatively understated ceremonies at temples throughout the island, and individual practitioners sometimes take time off to observe the day in their own ways, contemplating the Confucian virtues.
Depending on which calendar you observe, the birthday of Confucius can be taken to fall on different days. In the Republic of China, his birthday is celebrated as "National Teacher's Day", paying tribute to Confucius' radical doctrine that learning and knowledge should be available not only to the aristocracy but to everyone. His birthday also falls, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, on day 27 of the eighth lunar month.
Added by reck on September 19, 2005