Chinese Teacher’s Day

Teachers’ Day (Jiaoshi Jie)
Date: September 10th


Teachers’ Day is one of the three occupational festivals in China. The other two occupational ones include Nurses’ Day and Journalists’ Day. From 1931, China had four Teachers’ Day all together with various dates and qualities in various periods of time.

The earliest Teachers’ Day appearing in Chinese history was in 1931. At that time, the well-known professors Tai Shuangqiu and Cheng Qibao, contacting some other people in the field of education, discussed and determined June 6th as Teachers’ Day, and published the Manifesto on Teachers’ Day, which presented three goals-bettering teachers’ living conditions, safeguarding teachers’ work, and improving teachers’ qualities. This attempt to set a Teachers’ Day was not admitted by the Kuomintang government of that time, but it did have some influence in the whole country.

Why the Kuomintang government did not admit the June 6th Teachers’ Day was mainly due to the fact that June 6th Teachers’ Day was set spontaneously by some teachers themselves. In 1939, the Kuomintang government decided to set August 27th, the birthday of ancient Chinese educator Confucius, as Teachers’ Day, and issued for enforcement of Temporary Regulations on Setting Teachers’ Day. However, this was not widely enacted throughout the country.

In 1951, the Ministry of Education and All-China Federation of Trade Unions made a resolution that May 1st International Labor Day was also set as Teachers’ Day. Since teachers did not have individual celebration activities on this day, this Teachers’ Day did not attract more attention either.

On December 9th of 1984, Professor Wang Zikun, an academician of Chinese Academy of Science and the president of a university, once again came up with the idea that “teachers should have their own festival,” and told such an idea to Beijing Evening Paper. On the next day, Beijng Evening Paper published an article, reporting that President Wang Zikun advocated a series of activities to respect teachers and pay more attention to education. This article aroused a strong response among the readers. On December 15th, professors Zhong Jingwen, Qi Gong, Wang Zikun, Tao Dayong, Zhu Zhixian, Huang Ji, Zhao Qinghuan and some other people from Beijing Normal University formally proposed that Teachers’ Day should be set. In order to keep up and develop the good tradition of “respecting teachers and attaching importance to education,” and in order to improve the status of teachers, the ninth session of the standing committee of the 6th NPC made a resolution on January 21st, 1985, that September 10th would be set as Teachers’ Day.

It is after careful consideration that September 10th has been adopted as Teachers’ Day. September 10th is a time when students of primary schools, middle schools, colleges and universities started their new terms, and various schools show themselves a new scene and atmosphere. As soon as the new term starts, students can feel the atmosphere of respecting teachers and attaching importance to education, which can promote the establishment of a harmonious relationship between teachers and students. September 10th of 1985 is the first Teachers’ Day after New China resumed setting such a festival. The President Li Xiannian (1909-1992) wrote a greetings letter to all the teachers of the country. In Beijing, 10,000 people congregated to hold a celebration conference. During the festival, altogether 11,871 teaching groups and individual teachers were awarded provincial-level prizes in 20 provinces. From then on, Chinese teachers had their own unique festival.


Posted in Chinese Culture