JINAN, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Wang Miao had never heard of the "child reception ceremony," an ancient ritual in which a father salutes his wife and his new-born child on their first meeting.
"The father bows to thank his wife for her company for better or worse, for the hardship of her pregnancy and the pain of giving birth," Wang, 36, said after a simulated ceremony.
"Many fathers shed tears at the sight, determining to treat their wives better," she said.
Such simulated rituals are just one aspect of the cultural experience in "Shuxiang Qufu," a learning center in Qufu City, birthplace of Confucius, in east China's Shandong Province.
Other experiences on offer include guzheng -- an ancient Chinese stringed instrument similar to the zither -- lessons, guided study of the classic works of Confucianism and demonstrations of ancient crafts like movable-type printing and paper making.
Wang, a local hotelier, takes her 10-year-old son there almost every week and has seen changes in him over the past year.
"He gets up early every day to recite the Analects, and is not addicted to mobile games like many other children," she says, adding that the boy never drops litter.
Thursday marks the 2,568th birthday of Confucius (551BC - 479BC), an educator, philosopher and founder of Confucianism.
President Xi Jinping visited Qufu in November 2013 and said that the moral standards passed on by forefathers should be inherited on the basis of "making the past serve the present" and "keeping the essential while discarding the dross."
In front of a wooden bench in Kongfu, former residence of descendants of Confucius and now a tourist spot, Kong Hongen is telling visitors about the corruption of Yan Song, a notorious official in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
When Yan and his son were accused of graft, the Ming emperor sentenced his son to death. Yan came to beg for help from a descendant of Confucius to whom he was related by marriage, but sat on the bench for six hours without being received.
"Yan did not have a son until 40 years old, and spoiled him. Officials today should learn his lesson and discipline their families," said Kong.
Kong, a 75th generation descendant of Confucius and former tour guide, works at Jining executive leadership academy for political and moral study. He teaches officials Confucianism in places like Kongfu.
Jining academy was established in June 2015. More than 40,000 officials have been trained there, ranging from ministerial to township levels, from across the country, said Li Jingxue, head of the academy.
"In addition to classroom training, we have 22 instruction spots, such as the bench, which cover Confucius' thoughts on peace and harmony, family instructions, filial piety and corruption," said Li.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi, also general secretary of CPC central committee, has spoken of morality several times. In February 2013, while presiding over a study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee he said that the rule of law and the rule of virtue must go hand in hand.
For more than 2,000 years, the ideas of Confucius, including rule by virtue, self-discipline to appease others and harmony in diversity, have been central to personal, family and social life in China.
However, "moral decline" has become a hot topic in Chinese media, from the toddler hit by car and left without any help, to people looting watermelons that fell off truck at a road accident site.
Yang Chaoming, head of Confucius Research Institute of China, said while pursuing material wealth, some have neglected traditional ethics.
"We should moisten people's heart using our traditions, and brighten our path to the rejuvenation of Chinese nation," he said.