Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Students honor teachers at Dalongtong ceremony

CONFUCIAN MOMENT Despite being unsure about what to do during the ritual, foreign students were offered a rare glimpse into an ancient Asian tradition

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students bow before teachers in front of the Confucius Temple in Dalongtong as part of a Confucian ritual at a cultural festival in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Holding baskets filled with jerked meat, celery and red beans, about 40 foreign students joined hundreds of local students at the Taipei Confucius Temple yesterday to pay their respects to their teachers by performing rituals during an admission ceremony.

The ceremony was organized by Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs as part of this year's Dalongtong (大龍峒) Cultural Festival, which honors Confucius and encourages showing respect for teachers.

Following the traditional rituals, 500 students prepared individual baskets of shu xiu (束脩) -- jerked meat, celery, lotus seeds, red date, longan and red bean -- a symbol of teachers' salary during Confucian times. The students then kneeled and kowtowed toward the teachers in a mark of respect and asked to be accepted as disciples.

Upon receiving the shu xiu, teachers gave students a copy of Confucius' Analects, green onions and celery to encourage them to study harder.

Despite being unsure about how to carry the rituals during the ceremony, most foreign students, including Till Schoefer, a ninth grader from Taipei European School (TES), said the ritual was "cool" and identified with the Asian concept of respecting teachers and the elderly.

"I had never seen [this ritual] before. It's interesting and special," Schoefer said.

Patricia Tseng (曾桂香), director of development at TES, said the school encourages students to participate in such events to learn more about Chinese culture.

Shih Su-li (施淑梨), the temple's secretary, said the festival was held to emphasize the principle of "no children should be left behind" promoted by Confucius.

The festival also features cultural exhibitions, gourmet tours and other cultural events at the temple.

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