Taipei Confucius Temple to revive ‘wisdom hair’ rite

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 2

The Taipei Confucius Temple will revive the traditional ritual of pulling wisdom hair from sacrificial animals at the annual celebration of Confucius' birthday on Sept. 28, inviting the public to experience traditional Chinese culture and rituals.

The “pulling of wisdom hair” was previously performed at the annual ceremony, but the temple canceled the ritual in 1997 after residents expressed concern about pulling hair from sacrificial pigs, cows and goats.

Shih Su-li (施淑梨), the temple's secretary, said the temple would present the ritual for the first time in 12 years. The public is invited to “pull” writing brushes from a cow's back as part of the ritual, she said.

The ritual will be open to the public after the commemorative ceremony from 6am to 8am. People who are interested in attending the ceremony can get a pass at the temple during office hours until Monday, or wait in line in front of the temple at 5:30am on Sept. 28 before the ceremony.

Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹), commissioner of Taipei City's Department of Civil Affairs, said the commemorative ritual would strictly follow the ancient rules with 37 steps in the ceremony sequence.

The temple is one of the few Confucius temples that still performs such ancient rites when commemorating the great philosopher's birthday.

Taipei's Kai Ping Culinary School, which prepared the culinary feast at the closing ceremony of the Deaflympics, will prepare 189 sacrifices that will be presented at the ceremony.

Huang Lu said the temple would also give out “wisdom cakes” to participants after the ceremony.

Other events, including a classical poem chanting activity on Oct. 2, will be held after the ceremony to promote Confucian culture.

The origins of the Confucius Ceremony can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty. After Confucius died, his residence in Qufu (曲阜), in China's Shandong Province, was converted into a temple.