Celebrated annually on the third Sunday of September in Hong Kong, Confucius Day is a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the esteemed educator and philosopher from ancient China, who has inspired millions of people around the world with his profound teachings.
It’s a day that allows people to tap into Confucius’ ancient wisdom—a wisdom that has endured for over 2,500 years. And this is a birthday celebration that not only celebrates a person’s life but also enriches the person celebrating it.
The History of Confucius Day
Although records are somewhat spotty, most historians believe that Confucius was born on September 28, 551 B.C. He was born Kǒng Qiū in the town of Qufu, which was located in what is now known as the Chinese Province of Shandong.
Reportedly, Confucius’ father was a soldier and belonged to the noble class. Unfortunately, his father died by the time Confucius was three years old, plunging the family into poverty. By all accounts, Confucius was an excellent student who devoted 100% of his attention to his studies.
By the time he was 22 years old, he had started the first private school in China. This resulted in him being surrounded by students who looked to him for guidance and continuously referred to him as master.
He worked as a teacher for many years, and by the time he was in his 50s, he would be given the post of Lu’s Grand Minister of Justice. Confucius would eventually become an itinerant teacher, spreading his philosophy of self-love and love for others across China.
His teachings would become the foundation of Confucianism—an ancient Chinese belief system centered on the importance of a person’s morality and ethics. People debate to this day whether this belief system is a religion or merely a philosophy. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s something that has been practiced all around the world for many centuries.
Observing Confucius Day
There are a number of ways that this holiday can be observed. One way is to take a trip to Qufu, Shandong—the place of Confucius’ birth. Of course, we realize that a trip to China might be out of reach for some people, so we’ll also suggest something that everyone can do.
And that something is to reflect on Confucian philosophies. Another way to celebrate this holiday that doesn’t cost a dime is to wish the long-deceased philosopher a happy birthday on social media using the hashtag #ConfuciusDay.