The origin of spring plowing
Spring plowing is an important day for the working people. Although spring plowing begins only after the startling sting, in fact, people start spring plowing gradually after the beginning of spring. Spring plowing is the basis of agriculture. In ancient times, the people started according to changes in phenology, while the wizards who could watch the stars arranged according to the astrology.
Spring plowing is plowing the land before planting in spring. After the beginning of spring, spring plowing is about to begin. In some areas of China, the custom of trial plowing has been passed down. However, due to the differences in the environment and natural conditions in various places, the methods and times of traditional production of spring plowing are also different.
In ancient China, the country was founded on agriculture, and agriculture emphasized seasonality. Spring ploughing, summer hard work, autumn harvest, and winter storage all depend on the season. The change of season can only be judged by the general public based on the change of phenology, and wizards with astronomical knowledge can use the observation of celestial phenomena to determine.
Ancient observations were usually carried out when the sky was just dark (called “faint seeing”). The star to be observed was called the “fire”, and the western astronomical term was Scorpio a.
When the ancient “fire” star fainted, it happened to be on the vernal equinox. On this day, the fire observed that the big Mars was located in the middle of the south, so it announced to the people that the vernal equinox had arrived and it was time for spring plowing and planting. The ancestors of the Chu people probably served as the ancient fire king. This is the origin of the name of God Rong and the first duty of Huozheng.
In ancient times, slash-and-burn farming was generally practiced. A year’s farming started with burning wasteland. The people were nervous for work and excited because of longing. They regarded burning wasteland as a prelude to a good harvest, and a cheerful and solemn ceremony should be held.
“Book of Rites · Jiao Special Sacrifice” said: “Jichun makes a fire for burning.” It refers to the ancient ritual of burning waste. Who brought the kind of fire that had been properly preserved for the whole winter into the wild and lit the first fire that burned the wasteland? Of course, it was the fire that was incumbent on it. In the autumn, after the fire is unconscious, a ceremony of “accepting the fire” will be held to store the fire.
However, the ancient Huozheng was mainly not an actual official engaged in agriculture, but a religious witch who engaged in sacrifice. The ancients felt incredible about the regular movement of celestial phenomena, and always felt that there was a “hand of God” manipulating nature and human activities, and the movement of fires was no exception.
Moreover, there are wind, rain, thunder and lightning in the natural world, and there are abundant apologizes for misfortunes and blessings in the world. In order to pray for God to bestow eternal blessings on the world, there are rituals to sacrifice to heaven.
When offering sacrifices to the heavens, you must kill animals, tribute them on the pyre, and light the firewood, so that the burnt fragrance of the meat will float to the sky with the clear smoke. When the Emperor of Heaven smells the fragrance of the fireworks and meat on the earth, he will show mercy and give it to the world. With peace and happiness. The task of Huozheng is to arrange, light and guard the firewood for offering sacrifices to the heavens, and to complete the ritual of burning sacrifices.
Emperor Spring Plowing
The emperor’s spring ploughing sounds fresh, but it was a national ceremony in ancient times called “pro-farming”, which meant that the emperor Shaonong persuaded the crops and prayed for a good year.
The emperor of the Qing Dynasty personally cultivated and chose to hold it on an auspicious day in February or March. Since the Yongzheng period, the emperor had to practice farming in the farmland in front of Fengze Garden in Xiyuan (now Zhongnanhai) before farming, so as not to be unfamiliar with farming. Early in the morning on the day of formal pro-cultivation, the emperor wore a formal dress and traveled to the Xiannong Altar in the south of the city.
After performing the rituals such as offering sacrifices to Xiang Xiannong, the emperor came to the Ji field in front of Guan Gengtai, stood facing south, Hubu Shangshu knelt into Lei, Shuntian Fu Yin knelt into the whip, the emperor held Lei with his right hand and the whip with his left. In the front, the two old men are leading the bulls, and there are two farmers who help the plows, and in the back, the Shuntian Fucheng worships the green box, and the servant of the household department is responsible for sowing the seeds. It is guided and escorted by the six church officials of the Ministry of Rites, Taichang Temple and Luangyiwei , Amidst the sound of drum music, three round trips were completed to complete the pro-cultivation ceremony of “three pushes and three returns”.
The emperor’s own farming is only a matter of etiquette, but there are also things that the emperor really plows. According to “Yangjizhai Conglu”: In the forty-first year of Kangxi, Emperor Kangxi inspected the situation of spring plowing in Boye, Jingnan. He once held a plow and ploughed an acre of land in one go. At that time, a total of 10,000 people watched this scene, and Li Guangdi, a scholar, was named Wenleshi to make his affair.