Chinese consider moving holiday to honor Confucius

Sept. 7, 2013 at 5:28 PM
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BEIJING, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The Chinese government is considering moving the Teachers' Day holiday honoring Confucius from its present Sept. 10 to Sept. 28, believed to be his birthday.

The holiday, which presently falls shortly after the beginning of the Chinese school year, honors educators and falls in line with the philosophy Confucius espoused more than a millennium ago, centered on justice, sincerity and a dedication to study.

Confucius scholars celebrated the plan, China's official Xinhua News Agency said Friday. Several scholars attending the third world Confucius congress in 2010 proposed making the switch.

Others said it's largely a symbolic gesture and they would prefer to improve teachers' pay, particularly in rural areas.

Teachers are widely respected figures in Chinese culture, though many who work in rural areas and small towns are not paid as well as their counterparts in large cities.

"Compared with the date change, improving teachers' well-being is far more important," said Yan Jialong, principal of Yinshanfan Middle School in poor, mountainous Jinzhai County in east China's Anhui Province.

New teachers at his school are paid $243 per month -- far less than the starting wage in urban areas.

Teachers' Day was established as a holiday in China in 1985 and was celebrated as a return to traditional Chinese values after Confucius' teachings were marginalized during the nation's Cultural Revolution.

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