A few weeks ago, I was invited for a walk at the Dominion Arboretum and I was impressed by the large variety of trees along the Rideau Canal. I especially enjoyed the Magnolias trees with their lovely blossoms! Seeing so many kinds of trees reminded me of Arbor Day in China, a day related to trees.
While most festivals on which I have written in my previous posts are related to either rural culture or the lunar calendar, Arbor Day is not. Arbor Day falls on March 12th and marks the death of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a pioneer of democratic revolution in Chinese history. Apart from his political achievements, Dr. Sun was a proponent of the development of the forestry industry in China. As such, on February 1979, the Chinese State Council decided to commemorate his death with this special day.
The tradition of planting weeping willows goes back to Ancient China. However, awareness of the importance of trees and ecological contribution in China is mainly due to the founding of Arbor Day. Many elementary schools in China host tree-planting events on that day. Students work in pairs to plant trees and learn the importance of protecting forests. More significantly, in 1982, tree planting became a legal obligation for every Chinese citizen. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping became the first Chinese citizen to perform this obligation.
Finally, while tree planting is the most famous activity taking place on Arbor Day, it is also a great time to enjoy nature and feel its healing powers.