Teachers’ Day – China

September 10

Teacher: I thought I told you to stand at the back of the line!
Pupil: I tried, someone was already there.

Mother: What did you learn in school today?
Student: Not enough, I have to go back tomorrow.

(from http://china-corner.com)

Created by a group of China’s most esteemed professors, Teachers’ Day was celebrated in June in the 1930s. The Manifesto on Teachers’ Day explained the professors’ hope that the holiday would inspire the nation to:

  • create better living conditions for teachers
  • safeguard teacher’s work
  • improve teacher’s qualities. (Chinese Festivals, 2005)

In 1939, the Ministry of Education moved the holiday to August 27, the birthday’s of China’s great teacher Confucius. (Taiwan still celebrates Teachers’ Day on Confucius’s birthday, which is now observed September 28.)

In 1951 the new Communist Chinese government bumped Teachers’ Day to May 1, Labor Day, but as you can imagine, the event was overshadowed by one of China’s biggest holidays.

In December of 1984 the Beijing Evening Paper published an article citing a suggestion by Professor Wang Zikun who proposed that teachers be given their own day once again. The idea quickly gained support and a September 10th Teachers’ Day was put into law the following year. Why September 10th?

According to travelchinaguide.com:

The reason to choose this day is because when the fall semester begins, a fine studious atmosphere will be created if activities of respecting teachers and valuing education are held.

Students unfurl a 100-meter banner on Teachers Day (Now, class, how many inches is that?)
Students unfurl a 100-meter banner on Teachers Day (Now, class, how many inches is that?)

China has two other holidays dedicated to specific professions: Nurses (May 12) and Journalists (November 8).

Just for fun:

Say and write “Happy Teachers’ Day” in Chinese at goodcharacters.com


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