The Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius
Inscribed list: National List, First Batch
Inventory no.: X-35
Nominating unit(s): Shandong Province, Qufu City
The Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius is a ceremony to worship Confucius, who was one of the most important teachers, politicians and philosophers of Chinese history. Confucius lived in the Spring and Autumn period, and his philosophy, Confucianism, has influenced China since anciently and is considered one of the most important philosophies in China. The ceremony is held to commemorate the legacy of Confucius, and to pay him respect. Originally, the ceremony was only held once a year. Over time, the ceremony came to be held twice a year in spring and autumn. The Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius was banned for several decades during the twentieth century because of the Cultural Revolution. During that period, political propaganda was launched against Confucianism, denouncing the tenets of the philosophy as inferior. After several decades, these campaigns no longer exist, and in 2004 the Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius was allowed to be held officially in Shandong Qufu City again.
The first Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius was believed to be held two years later after the death of Confucius by Marquis Aigong of Lu. The ceremony was held at the former residence of Confucius. Emperor Gaozu of Han (Han Gaozu,漢高祖) also prepared a ceremony to show respect to Confucius when he passed by Shandong, the birthplace of Confucius. Since then, almost every Han emperor held the ceremony to worship Confucius. During the period ruled by Emperor Wu of Han, Confucianism was officially announced as the national philosophy. Therefore, people started to build up temples of Confucius in different places and the ceremony of worshiping Confucius also became more popular. Emperors from different dynasties increase the honors given to Confucius, thereby also increasing the scale of the ceremony. For example, the Grand Ceremony was on par with a ceremony for an emperor during Ming and Qing dynasty. It was described as the Grand Ceremony of A Country (Guo zhi dadian國之大典).
Originally, the ceremony was only held by Confucius’ descendants. In later periods, the descendants of Confucius still held the ceremony every year but there also came to be another ‘official’ ceremony held at the same time which was led by officers or the emperor.
The ‘San Xian Li’ (third presentation, 三獻禮) is one of the most important rituals during the ceremony. Before the ritual, the chief person in charge of the sacrifice needs to clean his clothes, wash his hands and take a bow in front of the incense table. The ‘San Xian Li’ including Chu Xian Li (first presentation), Ya Xian Li (second presentation) and Zhong Xian Li (final presentation). The others involved will present silk cloth, wine ware and wine on the incense table as to present to the ancestor. At the same time, the chief officiator will recite the text ‘Kongzi Zan’.
Today, the Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius in Qufu city is basically divided into four parts: Ceremony of the opening of old Ming city (Ming Gucheng Kaicheng Yishi, 明古城開城儀式), Ceremony of the opening of Temple of Confucius (Kongmiao Kaimiao Yishi, 孔廟開廟儀式), modern official ceremony (Xiandai gongji, 現代公祭) and traditional sacrificial ritual. Music and dance are also significant parts of the ceremony. By playing ritual music, singing ritual songs and dancing, the teachings of Confucianism like the concept of Ren (仁) and Li (禮) are presented. All the music, dance, clothing and items used in the ceremony are designed based on the records on ancient texts. Yi dance (八佾舞) is an ancient dance that is performed to show respect to people of different social positions. Yi (佾) means “row.” The number of dancers performing depends on how the person is honored. Eight rows (Ba Yi, 八佾) are used for an emperor while six rows are for a duke. In the beginning, people used to perform a Liu Yi dance (Six row dance, 六佾舞) in the Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius but later as different emperors from different dynasties had given more honor to Confucius, Ba Yi Dance (Eight row dance, 八佾舞) is performed in the ceremony.
In 2006, the Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius was included on the first batch of the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China. The ceremony is held on around 26th of September to 10th of October every year. In 2011, Mr Li Wenguang was announced as the representative inheritor of the Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius.
更多相關資料 MORE INFOMATION
Other videos 其他影片:
The Grand Ceremony of Worship of Confucius in 2016