Blog entry

秋分 Qiufen Autumnal Equinox 23 Sept 2018

秋分 or Autumnal Equinox is the 16th solar term in the Chinese calendar. It marks the midpoint of autumn when day and night are even in length. After the Autumnal Equinox, night becomes longer than day.The difference between day and night temperatures becomes pronounced.Traditional customs include the distribution of pictures depicting cattle in working in the fields, standing eggs on ends, flying of kites etc.

白露 Bailu (White Dew) 8 Sept 2018

白露 Bailu (White Dew) is the 15th solar term. The weather has already turned cool and water vapor condenses into dewdrops on vegetation overnight, hence the name. Temperatures drop rapidly and there is continuous rain in certain parts of China such as the southwest. It becomes important to keep warm and prevent autumn dryness. Traditional foods for these period include longans (in Fuzhou, Fujian), wine, grapes and sweet potatoes.

芒种 (mang zhong) Grain In Ear 6 June 2018

Today is 芒种, the nineth solar term. Wheat and barley ripens in Northern China and it is time for summer planting in Southern China. Plums ripen and are eaten for good health which is why the start of the rainy season in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river is called “plum rains”. It will be hot, humid and rainy until mid-July.

小满(Xiao Man) Grain Buds 21 May 2018

21 May is 小满 (Grain Buds), the second solar term of summer. It is so named because the summer crops like barley and wheat are starting to bud but are not ready for harvest yet.Rain increases in the south and the temperature difference between the north and the south narrows. It is customary to eat bitter herbs like sow thistle for good health. Silk production areas in Jiangnan area (in southeastern China) worship the silkworm goddess (according to legend this is the birthday of Leizu, the Yellow Emperor’s wife who founded silkworm farming).

立夏 (Lixia) Beginning of Summer 5 May 2018

Today is 立夏 (Beginning of Summer) which as its name suggests marks the beginning of Summer and the end of spring. It is the first solar term of Summer and temperature starts to get hot with thunderstorms. Folk customs include children fighting with the pointed ends of boiled eggs (the winner is the one with the unbroken egg), weighing people (to wish for good health) and the tasting of new foods. It is time to transplant rice seedlings and harvest spring crops like grapes and melon.

春分(chunfen) Spring Equinox 21 March 2018

Today is the Spring Equinox in China, one of the twenty four solar terms marking the middle of the Spring season.
It has been celebrated in China for 4000 years. Charming customs on this day include the flying of kites, attempting to stand eggs on end (which is supposed to be easier to do on this day), picking wild spring vegetables and boiling them with fish fillets to eat, sending lucky pictures of cows printed on yellow or red paper to other households.

惊蛰(Jingzhe) Awakening of Insects 5 March 2018

Today is  惊蛰(Jingzhe) the third solar term in the Chinese calendar. It is called “Awakening of Insects” because the warming temperature results in spring thunder which is supposed to awaken animals and insects which have been hibernating for winter. This is a time for spring plowing and the beginning of the agricultural work for the year. There are also folk customs of eating pears, beating of drums to emulate the thunder god and offering sacrifice to the white tiger.

雨水(The Rains) Chinese Solar Term 19 Feb 2018

雨水 (yushui) is the second solar term in Chinese calendar. Spring has come and the weather gets warmer with an increase in rainfall instead of snow.It is traditional for married women to return to their parents’ homes with gifts in some parts of China such as Western Sichuan.

小寒 (Xiaohan) Minor Cold 5 Jan 2017

小寒 (Xiaohan or Minor Cold) which falls on 5 January in 2018 is the second last of the twenty four solar terms under the traditional Chinese calendar. It is a time for eating warming foods like mutton hotpot, exercising/strengthening one's body and starting preparations for the upcoming Spring Festival such as writing spring couplets and buying New Year decorations. Some traditional regional foods eaten during this period include cabbage in Tianjin, vegetable rice in Nanjing and glutinous rice in Guangdong.

大雪 (Daxue) Major Snow 7 November 2017

Night Snow

 雪 (daxue) meaning "Major Snow" is the 21st solar term under the traditional Chinese lunar calendar and the third winter solar term. The weather turns colder and there is a greater possibility of snow, especially heavy snows.

I have copied out Tang dynasty poet 白居易 Bai Juyi's 《夜雪》(Night Snow) with a glass pen and black ink with blue shimmer (the shimmer is hard to photograph).

For those curious, a English translation of the poem is here.