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Ma Ying-jeou sets precedent in ceremonies honoring Confucius

President Ma Ying-jeou, center, appears as an  'honored guest' at ceremonies honoring Confucius on his birthday yesterday at the Confucius Temple in T...

President Ma Ying-jeou, center, appears as an 'honored guest' at ceremonies honoring Confucius on his birthday yesterday at the Confucius Temple in T...

Yesterda is jointly celebrated as the birthday of Confucius as well as Teacher's Day in Taiwan. President Ma Ying-jeou appeared this year as an "honored guest" in the ceremony in Tainan, marking the first time in the 400-year history of the Confucius Temple there that the nation's president has taken part in this long-held tradition.
In a brief ceremony lasting only about three minutes, Ma offered up incense and then quickly departed without making an official statement on the occasion.
The matter of President Ma presenting incense in honor of Confucius had been discussed ahead of time by the Tainan City government. Hsu Keng-hsiu, Director of the city's Cultural Bureau, was in favor of the move, but the appropriateness of Ma's offering incense was the subject of debate twice in the city government.
Hsu Keng-hsiu pointed out that the ceremony honoring Confucius was instituted by Zheng Jing, the son of Zheng Cheng-gong (Koxinga) and that nothing is known about the rite as it was originally held. For 400 years it has remained basically unchanged, however, carried out in accordance with ancient ceremonies in the Main Hall and Secondary Hall, with six ranks of young scholars dressed in ceremonial robes dating from the Qing Dynasty.
Hsu Keng-hsiu adds that the ceremony at the Confucius Temple in Tainan has always been run by local authorities and that presenting incense has never been a part of the ritual. City officials discussing the matter originally considered asking President Ma to preside over the ceremony in the Main Hall. Later on it was decided, however, that the offering of incense should be considered an honor and that Ma would be considered "welcome" at the ceremony and that he would be allowed to set a precedent for the Tainan temple by offering incense during the rite.
Tsai Chung-li, a manager in the Public Affairs Office of the President pointed out that Ma was present at the temple as an "honored guest" and that local authorities would oversee the ceremonies as usual. He noted that Ma had participated in the Confucian rite before when he served as Mayor of Taipei and that appearing as an "honored guest" was entirely in keeping with the ceremony and was totally respectful to the sage.


Updated : 2021-10-20 22:37 GMT+08:00