Ruist Basics

How to Celebrate Confucius Day

On September 28th, 2021, millions of people around the world will observe the 2,572th birthday of Kongzi, known commonly in the West as Confucius. In Kongzi’s hometown of Qufu, a two-day cultural festival is being held. About a thousand people will gather at the Confucius Temple in Taiwan for a ceremony commemorating Kongzi. Similar festivals and rituals will be held in Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, and many other countries.

There are a few events here in the U.S., too. Last Saturday, the 15th annual Confucius Memorial was held in Holmdel, NJ. A nationally-syndicated radio show called Global Village will celebrate Confucius Day with music from Chinese and Chinese-American artists.

Most of us, however, are not within driving distance of a festival or ritual. Our day of commemoration will, necessarily, be a more solitary affair, but it can be just as meaningful. Here are a few tips for celebrating Confucius Day at home.

  • Start your day by bowing three times before an image, statue, or symbol of Kongzi to show reverence for Kongzi and his teaching. (If you don’t have a picture or statue of Kongzi in your home, Confucius Day is a fine time to order one.)
  • Set aside extra time for study. If you’ve taken our course, How to be a Ru, you already know how important it is set aside some time every day to study the Ru classics. Try to make time for additional study on Confucius Day and consider focusing on The Analects, where we can learn about Kongzi most vividly through the memories of his first students. (Book 7 provides a wealth of detail on Kongzi’s character.)
  • In many parts of the world, Confucius Day is also a day to celebrate teachers. Consider sending a letter or email of thanks to an educator who made a difference in your life. You can also use this opportunity to make a donation to a school or educational non-profit in your teacher’s name.

From all of us at the Ruist Association of America, we wish you a peaceful and fruitful Confucius Day!