Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The 2016 Qingdao Holiday - Day 5

At this halfway stage of the holiday, I started having misgivings about taking this holiday. Qingdao is not as interesting or scenic as promoted. Perhaps I'm unduly unfair since the Lake Como holiday was and is incomparable. Qingdao and its vicinity in Shandong do have characteristics not found in other parts of China which are more commercialised. So today's itinerary will either confirm my disappointment or justify my choice.

We started our tour to Qufu, the hometown of the well known Chinese sage, Confucius. Born in 551BC, Confucius played several roles as teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher during his time. He promoted the philosophy of personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, and respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do to others what you do not want to be done to yourself", the Golden Rule.

Confucius died at the age of 72.

At Qufu we toured the Confucius Temple, the Kung Family Mansion, and the Kung Clan Cemetery, a sprawling area of 3.6 square kilometres. The cemetery occupies 183.33 hectares and is surrounded by a perimeter wall 5,591 m long. In this space, the tombs of more than 100,000 descendants of Confucius, who have been buried there over a period of about 2,000 years, can be found. On the tour of the cemetery, we were advised to be respectfully quiet and not to take any photographs. It is a well held Chinese superstition that doing so may capture the spirit of the deceased into the camera and invited home unwittingly into your home and computer! So everyone kept to this advice obediently.

The Confucius Temple has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. The nearby Kung Family Mansion was where the mainline descendants of Confucius lived, and the Cemetery of Confucius a few kilometers to the north, where Confucius and many of his descendants have been buried. These three sites are collectively known in Qufu as San Kong (三孔), i.e. "The Three Confucian Sites".

If anything today's tour of Qufu justified the value of this holiday. Many of our tour members joined specifically to see these heritage sites as Confucius was a much revered Chinese personality who molded many Chinese family values.

We ended our tour today in Tai-an and stayed at the Donghue Hotel.

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