– Ceremonies were held across China Tuesday to commemorate the 2561st birthday of China’s great philosopher,Confucius.

A ceremony in Confucius’ hometown, Qufu City of east China’s Shandong Province, gathered officials, descendants of Confucius and experts from home and aboard.

Chen Zhili, vice chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, attended the ceremony in Qufu.

“It’s very informative. I hope it can continue in this positive direction,” commented Larry W. Hurtado, professor with the University of Edinburgh, at the ceremony.

“Confucianism is very traditional. But there are many positive elements,” said Hurtado.

Also Tuesday, more than 150 students and teachers from the central and southern parts of Taiwan joined in commemorations at a Confucius temple in Beijing.

At the ceremony, participants called for more communication and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait.

Commemorations were also held in Jilin, Tianjin, Guangxi and Zhejiang. A group of Confucius’ descendants celebrated the day in their family temple in Quzhou in eastern Zhejiang province.

Similar ceremonies in the city of Tainan, Taichung, and the east coast county of Ilan in Taiwan also drew huge crowds, including local officials and residents.

Earlier this week, scholars from China’s top universities, including Peking University and Tsinghua University, proposed Sept. 28 be declared Respecting Teacher Day.

Confucius (551-479 BC), an educator and philosopher, founded a school of thought called Confucianism that deeply influenced later generations. He was also the first Chinese to set up private schools and enroll students from all walks of life.