The prosperity of a dynasty depends to a large extent on the labor of the peasants. Therefore, all Mingjun, most have to persuade the people and farmers to reduce taxes. In order to encourage the peasants to actively cultivate, even if they are pampered emperors, they will also get a “labor” once a year. In this sense, the ancient “labor festival” is the day when spring plowing begins. In the ancient era of agriculture, the importance of this day is self-evident. Every spring, the emperor will hold a ceremony to “encourage the people and farmers.”
This ritual is to be used by the emperor as a model to personally cultivate the field to show the importance of agriculture to the country. Since the emperor has personally set his own example, the people naturally do not fall behind. It can almost be said that this ritual has been in place since the beginning of agriculture. According to the records of the history books, it can be traced back to Fuxi. Later, in the “Historical Records” also recorded that Zhou Wuwang will also solemnly hold a “pro-cultivation” ceremony every year. Since then, the dynasties have paid considerable attention to this ritual.
To make this “Labor Day” to the extreme, the Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty. When Emperor Yongzheng was in office, he set up an “acre garden”, which was an acre of land cultivated by the emperor himself. Every year, the Labor Day will be cultivated in an acre garden. Of course, there are many emperors in the weekdays, and the farming in the acre of gardens is done by the people below. Still, this is not easy. This habit was only the Emperor Yongzheng insisted on the end; in the late Qianlong period, the acre garden gradually became deserted; during the Jiaqing and Daoguang periods, the acre garden was completely abolished.
Until the Republic of China, Labor Day was promoted in China, which has a lot to do with Cai Yuanpei and others.
In 1918, after the end of the First World War, Peking University held a lecture. At this meeting, Cai Yuanpei, Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu took turns to make a wonderful speech. Among them, Cai Yuanpei’s speech was the most eye-catching. Cai Yuanpei’s speech titled “Sacred Workers”. In his speech, he called on young students to change their minds of only reading high in the past, to re-recognize the value of labor and to recognize the meaning of labor. Finally, Cai Yuanpei concluded: Labor is sacred and labor is sacred!
This speech set off a sacred trend of labor in the intellectual world. Many people are aware of the value and significance of labor under the influence of Cai Yuanpei. For this reason, two years later, in 1920, Peking University held the first commemoration of the Labor Day. Prior to this, there was no precedent for commemoration on the day of Labor Day.
This sacred concept of labor, although promoted by Cai Yuanpei, has been related to China before. During the period of the Republic of China, various ideas were introduced from the West. There is a kind of thinking that advocates saving the country by labor and has a certain influence in the ideological circle. However, this idea has not been able to exert its influence and role before Cai Yuanpei promoted it. It can be seen that although Labor Day did not originate from Cai Yuanpei, it was gradually known to the Chinese people because of Cai Yuanpei. After that, Labor Day is also becoming more and more important.
Throughout the Labor Day of the past and present, although the official name of Labor Day has been introduced into China for only a hundred years, the significance of labor has long been recognized by people.