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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.

谷雨 (Guyu) Grain Rain 20 April 2018

Today is  谷雨 or Grain Rain  which is the last solar term of Spring. It is called Grain Rain because  “雨生百谷” (Rain sprouts a hundred grains). This is the best time for sowing seed and planting seedlings. In Southern China, there is usually quite a lot of rain during this period which is suitable for growing rice and corn. In Northern China, there is a custom of eating  香椿 (Chinese toon, a kind of vegetable) on this day, whereas Southern Chinese would pick fresh spring tea and drink it on this day. 

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.

冬至 Dongzhi Chinese Winter Solstice Festival 22 Dec 2017

 

22 Dec this year is 冬至 (Dongzhi) Festival or Winter Solstice in China. Winter Solstice, of course, as in other countries is the shortest day of the year and marks the peak of winter. 冬至 (Dongzhi) was the first of the solar terms in the traditional Chinese calendar to be fixed and an important festival that occurs from the 21 to the 23rd every year. Depending on the region, families gather to make and eat traditional foods to celebrate such as dumplings 饺子 or wonton 馄饨 (Beijing) in the north and tangyuan 汤圆 (glutinous rice balls) in parts of the south.