China's Ancestor Day Leads Confucian Revival

April 4, 2008

Author: Chris Buckley

Source: Reuters

China officially marked the traditional Qingming Festival of ancestor worship on Friday in a revival of Confucian ways that some scholars hope will eventually elevate the traditional doctrine into a "state religion."

Chinese for centuries commemorated the day, falling in early April, by sweeping the graves of forebearers and leaving symbolic tributes, an act reflecting Confucius' teachings of loyalty to family and tradition.

After 1949, China's revolutionary Communists, hostile to old ways, let the day pass officially unmarked and dismissed Confucius as a deadening "reactionary" influence.

But the government last year made the Qingming Festival a public holiday when citizens will be encouraged to revive some old practices, as the Communist Party seeks to make traditional virtues an anchor of order during feverish social change.