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The Life of Confucius
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Origins and Changes
The origin of Confucius Ceremony
Sacrificial rites to Confucius, China's supremely esteemed and revered Sage, are known in Chinese as the "display-presentation ceremony," denoting the displays of music and dance and the presentations of food and wine that are made in veneration of Confucius during the ceremony.
During his lifetime, Confucius laid considerable emphasis on education, in which, he had extremely high attainments. As his influence spread far and wide, he gradually became the object of these quarterly sacrifices. In A.D. 581, Confucius became the "Grand Master" by imperial decree, while at the same time becoming the primary focus of these ceremonies. These ceremonies thus became specifically "Confucian".
Confucian sacrifices have been carried out regularly since the Han dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220) with rites that have gained in solemnity. The sacrifices took place in Qu Fu, the imperial capital and at regional centers. The titles attributed to Confucius have also advanced with the times. Posthumously awarded the title "Supreme Teacher" in A.D. 1, Confucius gained increasing recognition throughout the ages, and in A.D. 739 received the title "Prince of Culture".
Confucian rites were developed over time to embrace sacrifices to Confucius' disciples and other Confucian worthies. The sacrifice to Confucius himself is known as the "Principal Consecration", while that to the others is termed the "Secondary Consecration".
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