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Beautiful views of the 24 solar terms二十四节气美图

Winter Begins
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Winter Begins

Introduction
“Winter Begins” arrives on November 7 or November 8 each year. In Chinese, it’s called “Li Dong”. “Li” means beginning and “Dong” means winter. In ancient times, the explanation for “Dong” was that “all the crops are harvested and dried and it’s time to put them into the storage. All the animals are ready to hide and start winter sleep”. Therefore, “Dong” not only means winter, but also that the metabolism of the nature gets slower. At this time of the year, some rivers and landscape in China start to freeze. In north China, most of the areas already enter winter and for places besides Yangtze River, the real winter comes after “Light Snow”.

Traditional Customs
“Winter Begins”, together with “Spring Begins”, “Summer Begins” and “Autumn Begins” are the four “Beginning” on the solar terms. It’s a very important festival in ancient times. On this day, emperors led his officials to city suburbs for sacrifice ceremony. Nowadays, people celebrate “Winter Begins” by eating Jiaozi, practice winter swimming and hold worship ceremony. Many people often start new study in winter as during this time, people don’t need to do farming and the nights are longer than days.

Healthy Living Tips
During this period, it’s better to eat food with more nutrition such as lamb, beef, soya-bean milk and tofu. Also grain and potato, providing a lot of carbohydrate, can help people defend against the cold.
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The Rains
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

The Rains

Introduction
When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 330 degrees, the solar term of “The Rains” arrives. “The Rains” indicates that as the weather gets warmer, the amount of rainfall increases, at the same time the form of precipitation transforms from snowfall to rainfall. It usually happens on February 18 or February 19 and ends on March 4 or March 5. When passing the day of “The Rains”, the weather sometimes can be unpredictable for a few days. One minute, it rains and another minute, it shines. When the season comes, the otter starts fishing, the wild goose flies back to north from south and grass and trees start to sprout. No matter what, rain is the most important element in this solar term. Just like the Chinese farmers often say, “Spring rain is as precious as oil”, meaning raining is a sign that crops will soon grow faster.

Traditional Customs
In old times, married daughter should go home and visit her parents on this day. Woman who already has children should bring presents such as canned meat, chairs to home to show their filial piety. Pregnant woman should wear a pair of red trousers sewn by her mother, which was to bless her baby being delivered healthy. Young girl should find a god father which can help her grow safely and healthily. Nowadays, this custom is still quite popular in some of the countryside in China.

Healthy Living Tips
As the rainfall increases, dampness invades the spleen. It’s very important to protect the spleen during this period by eating foods that would help to dispel wind and eliminate dampness inside one’s body. Honey, dates, Chinese yam, tremella are all very good nourishment. On the other hand, raining often causes anxiety and people with high blood pressure, heart attack and asthma need to pay special attention to their health conditions.
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The Rains
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

The Rains

Introduction
When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 330 degrees, the solar term of “The Rains” arrives. “The Rains” indicates that as the weather gets warmer, the amount of rainfall increases, at the same time the form of precipitation transforms from snowfall to rainfall. It usually happens on February 18 or February 19 and ends on March 4 or March 5. When passing the day of “The Rains”, the weather sometimes can be unpredictable for a few days. One minute, it rains and another minute, it shines. When the season comes, the otter starts fishing, the wild goose flies back to north from south and grass and trees start to sprout. No matter what, rain is the most important element in this solar term. Just like the Chinese farmers often say, “Spring rain is as precious as oil”, meaning raining is a sign that crops will soon grow faster.

Traditional Customs
In old times, married daughter should go home and visit her parents on this day. Woman who already has children should bring presents such as canned meat, chairs to home to show their filial piety. Pregnant woman should wear a pair of red trousers sewn by her mother, which was to bless her baby being delivered healthy. Young girl should find a god father which can help her grow safely and healthily. Nowadays, this custom is still quite popular in some of the countryside in China.

Healthy Living Tips
As the rainfall increases, dampness invades the spleen. It’s very important to protect the spleen during this period by eating foods that would help to dispel wind and eliminate dampness inside one’s body. Honey, dates, Chinese yam, tremella are all very good nourishment. On the other hand, raining often causes anxiety and people with high blood pressure, heart attack and asthma need to pay special attention to their health conditions.
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Vernal Equinox
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Vernal Equinox

Introduction
“Vernal Equinox” arrives around March 21 every year and on this day, the sun is vertically above a point on the equator. “Vernal Equinox” indicates two meanings. Firstly, on this day, the night and day are approximately equally long with 12 hours each. Secondly, it’s the mid-point for the spring season. After this day, the sun continues to move to the north hemisphere and the temperature continues to rise. Daily average temperature in most areas in China reaches 0 degree Celsius above. Some areas may even reach 10 degree Celsius. Many proverbs among the farmers describe this season as “rains with thunder and lightning” and “time to farm otherwise nothing to harvest for the rest of the year”.

Traditional Customs
Some traditional customs around “Vernal Equinox” include:
-. Balancing Eggs: People choose fresh eggs laid only a few days ago and gently place them on the table. The one who can balance an egg on its point steal the glamour.
- Eating “Spring Vegetable”: People cook “Spring Vegetable”, i.e., amaranth, with fish in a soup.
- Sending “Spring Cow”: People send paper-cut pictures showing spring cow ploughing in the field to each other.

Healthy Living Tips
Since “Vernal Equinox” equally divides day and night, people should pay more attention on the balance of Yin Qi and Yang Qi in human’s body. Traditional Chinese medical practice shows that to balance Yin and Yang, the human body requires both “supplying” and “releasing”. For example, when eating food with cold nature such as crab, fish and prawn, it’s better to cook them with food with warm nature such as ginger, spring onion, wines and vinegar. During this period, people should also pay attention to symptoms such as menstrual disorder, allergic, high blood pressure and so on.
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Clear and Bright
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Clear and Bright

Introduction
“Clear and Bright” is not only a solar term but also a traditional festival in China, the Qingming Festival. It comes around April 5 each year when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 15 degrees. The temperature continues to increase and farmers get busier with farming. At this point, the princess tree starts to bloom, the filed mouse is gone and rainbow often appears after rain.
One of the most important activities on this day is to tend graves to honor ancestors, dead relatives and friends. In addition, as the spring comes and everywhere gets green, people often go picnicking, hiking, play kites or plant willows.

Traditional Customs
Important Qingming customs include:
-        Sweeping the tomb, eating cold food and no fire allowed. Qingming Festival is originated from the Cold Food Day, a festival created by Chong’er, a prince from the Spring and Autumn Period in ancient China. Chong’er used to have a very loyal official named Jie Zitui, who even cut his own flesh off his leg to save the dying prince during the hard times. When Chong’er ascended the throne, he almost forgot about his savior Jie and Jie left the palace and lived in the forest with his mother. Desperate to find Jie, Chong’er finally set a fire in the forest to force Jie back but at last he only found the burned body of Jie and his mother, together with a note written in blood saying, “I cut off my own flesh to dedicate to you, only to wish my king will always be clear and bright.” Chong’er felt very so guilty and named the Cool Food Day when all people must eat cold food and no fire or smoke is allowed. Later this Cold Food Day became the Qingming festival where people held remembrances events for their ancestors.
- Conducting outdoor activities.
- Some other traditional rules carried out by people in old times: No needles allowed. No laundry activities allowed. Woman not allowed going outside on this day. People drew a grey line outside the door to prevent “ghost” into the house before dusk.

Healthy Living Tips
The traditional Chinese medical theory believes that this period is the perfect time for people to absorb Yang Qi into human’s body. Everything which may consume or block one’s Yang Qi should be avoided. People are suggested to take more exercises such as jogging, gymnastics, hiking. Although the old custom of eating cold food is still popular in some areas, not everyone’s body is suitable for doing so, especially those who have weak stomach. People should eat more fruits and vegetables such as chives, Chinese cabbage and radish.
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Grain Rain
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Grain Rain

Introduction
“Grain Rain” is the sixth solar term in the 24 solar terms. It is the last solar term in spring when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 30 degrees around April 20 to April 21 every year. The term “Grain Rain” is originated from a folk story. When Cang Jie, an official from the Yellow Emperor period, created writing characters, grain came down from sky like rainfall. Therefore, the Yellow Emperor named this day as the “Grain Rain”. When this day comes, the amount of rainfall increases much than the day of “The Rain”, which is very important for the growth of the crops. After this day, the duckweed starts to grow after rainfall, the cuckoo starts to sing and hoopoe starts to appear on mulberry tree. The temperature in most of the basin areas increases quickly. Apart from the north-west part, most of the basin areas in China reach 20 to 22 degree Celsius.

Traditional Customs
Below are some traditional customs during “Grain Rain”.
- Picking and cooking tea leaves: “Grain Rain Tea” is the name for the tea made around the time of “Grain Rain”. It has a strong and fragrant taste and can last for a long time in water. Nowadays, “Grain Rain Tea” is considered as one of the best kinds of tea and many activities to promote Chinese tea culture and healthy way of drinking are held on this day.
- Blessing to the sea: “Grain Rain” is a perfect time for fishing since when temperature increases, the sea also gets warmer and many fishes swim in the sublittoral area. Fishermen often hold sacrifice ceremony for the sea to bless for safety and success on the sea.
- Killing insects: As the weather gets warmer, insects become more active. Farmers often use different methods to kill insects and pray at the same time.
- Taking a bath: In some of the north-west areas, people call the river showered by the rains during “Grain Rain” period as “Peach Blossom water”. Taking a bath in this water can help people be far away from the back luck.
- Eating cedrela sinensis

Healthy Living Tips
The most significant weather feature around “Grain Rain” is the big differences between morning temperatures and night temperatures. It’s important not to catch a cold. People should also pay attention to symptoms like hay fever, allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.
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Summer Begins
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Summer Begins

Introduction
“Summer Begins” comes on May 5 or May 6 every year. When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 45 degrees, it’s the beginning of the summer season. Usually people consider this period as the time where temperature begins to rise obviously, thunderstorm becomes more frequent and crops’ growth enter the peak season. Many crops seeded in spring can be harvested in the summer. Wheat grain begins to grow full and rapeseed is nearly ripe. It’s also the peak season for transplant rice seedlings. As an old saying goes, “You can see the outcome of summer at the ‘Summer Begins’”. Since the ancient times, people had paid important attention to this day. In the Zhou Dynasty, emperors would take a trip outside the palace together with his officials to welcome the summer, and send out orders to local officials encouraging farmers working harder.

Traditional Customs
As mentioned above, in ancient times, emperor led all his officials outside the palace to welcome this day. Everyone wore vermilion clothes, with vermilion accessories. Even horses, chariots and flags were vermilion. This was to show people’s prayer for good harvest. The emperor also awarded his officials some ice stored from the previous winter.

In folk, people relieve the summer heat with cold drinks. People along the Yangtze River have the customs of boiling and eating broad bean.

Healthy Living Tips
Since the temperature rises continuously, people should take food which are easier to digest and are with more vitamins. It’s better to avoid oily and spicy food. Another principle is to eat something good for the heart, for example, milk, bean products and chicken. More vegetables and fruits can help increase the cellulose, Vitamin B and Vitamin C and thus prevent arteriosclerotic diseases.
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Summer Begins
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Summer Begins

Introduction
“Summer Begins” comes on May 5 or May 6 every year. When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 45 degrees, it’s the beginning of the summer season. Usually people consider this period as the time where temperature begins to rise obviously, thunderstorm becomes more frequent and crops’ growth enter the peak season. Many crops seeded in spring can be harvested in the summer. Wheat grain begins to grow full and rapeseed is nearly ripe. It’s also the peak season for transplant rice seedlings. As an old saying goes, “You can see the outcome of summer at the ‘Summer Begins’”. Since the ancient times, people had paid important attention to this day. In the Zhou Dynasty, emperors would take a trip outside the palace together with his officials to welcome the summer, and send out orders to local officials encouraging farmers working harder.

Traditional Customs
As mentioned above, in ancient times, emperor led all his officials outside the palace to welcome this day. Everyone wore vermilion clothes, with vermilion accessories. Even horses, chariots and flags were vermilion. This was to show people’s prayer for good harvest. The emperor also awarded his officials some ice stored from the previous winter.

In folk, people relieve the summer heat with cold drinks. People along the Yangtze River have the customs of boiling and eating broad bean.

Healthy Living Tips
Since the temperature rises continuously, people should take food which are easier to digest and are with more vitamins. It’s better to avoid oily and spicy food. Another principle is to eat something good for the heart, for example, milk, bean products and chicken. More vegetables and fruits can help increase the cellulose, Vitamin B and Vitamin C and thus prevent arteriosclerotic diseases.
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Grain in Ear
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Grain in Ear

Introduction
“Grain in Ear” means the grains are mature. It happens around June 5 every year when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 75 degrees. During this period, crops like barley and wheat all get mature and are waiting to be harvested. In Chinese, “Grain in Ear” is called Mang Zhong. Mang means grains at the same time busy. It forecasts the farmer is getting back to the busy field work. It’s the busiest time to seed millet and the deadline for sowing activities. During this period, areas around middle stream and downstream of Yangtze River enter the raining season. Sensing the wetness, the mantis comes out, the shrike starts to sing and the mockingbird stops tweet.

Traditional Customs
As the flowers withered away, people in old times used to hold ceremony to sacrifice for the “God of Flowers”, showing their gratitude and their eagerness to see the flowers again next year. This custom is already long gone and people can only read the scene in some of the ancient novels. In China’s south Anhui province, people steam dumplings with new fresh wheat flour after seeding the paddy rice. They make the flour into different shapes such as cereals, animals, vegetables and fruits, color them and pray for villagers’ safety.

Healthy Living Tips
The best food to eat during “Grain in Ear” period, as suggested by Chinese doctors, is mulberry. Around two thousand years ago, mulberry had already been considered as royal food and among the folk, it was called the “Holy Fruit”. It has abundant glucose, cane sugar, Vitamin A, B and C and many mineral substances and is very good for human’s heart, liver and kidney.
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Summer Solstice
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Summer Solstice

Introduction
“Summer Solstice” comes on June 21 to June 22 each year when the sun altitude arrive the highest in north. This day has the longest day time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the sunshine in many cities in south China may last fourteen hours per day. After this day, the spot of the direct sunlight gradually moves southward. Although, this day has the longest daylight, it’s not the hottest. As traditional Chinese books described, there are three periods of the hot season. It starts around “Summer Solstice” and ends around “Autumn Begins”. The temperature rises day by day and the hottest days come around mid-July to mid-August, where temperatures of some cities in China reach 40 degree Celsius. After this day, thunderstorms often come around afternoons and evenings. Old poems also describe this season as, “with sunshine in the east and rain in the west, you can’t tell whether it’s fine or not.” People in ancient times called this day as “Summer Festival” and during the Song Dynasty, officials were given 3 days holiday to rest at home.

Traditional Customs
In some provinces, there is the tradition of eating cold noodles on this day. According to old customs in Beijing, when it comes to “Summer Solstice”, people can start eating uncooked vegetables and cold noodles safely to stimulate the appetite and at the same time don’t need to worry about having diarrhea. In Guangdong province, people often cook soups that will help insider system cool down and drink cold tea and sweet-sour plum juice.

Healthy Living Tips
During this period, to comply with the Yin and Yang in the natural world, people should sleep late, get up early and have a nap during the lunch time. Aged people should make sure they have at least seven hours sleep every day by sleeping early and get up early. Actually most of the people feel tired and sometimes even headache during this period. This is because when the temperature rises, people can only send out the heat by perspiration, which may cause dehydration and thus the insufficient blood supplying to the brain. Therefore, remember to drink a lot of water if feeling uncomfortable.
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Slight Heat
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Slight Heat

Introduction
When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 105 degrees, it’s the time for “Slight Heat”, usually happening on July 7 or July 8. Slight heat means it’s hot but not the hottest. The continuous rainfall season for cities along “Yangtze River” will soon stop and enter summer days. On the other hand, the north and north-east of China will enter the rain season. Therefore, when “Slight Heat” arrives, people in north should pay attention to waterlogging, but in the south, drought. As mentioned earlier, three periods of the hot season come one by one after “Summer Solstice”. In the Chinese, it’s call the three “Fu”, meaning that the weather is so hot and people better lie down than to move. Around the “Slight Heat” period, it’s the first “Fu” period. The wind comes with hot wave, the cricket starts to crawl from the field into the yard and young eagle starts to learn how to fly and hunt.

Traditional Customs
In ancient times, emperors used to give out ice and fried noodles to his officials and people on the first “Fu” period. Nowadays, people eat Jiaozi on the first “Fu”, noodles on the second and eggs with baked pancake on the third. In Xuzhou, the tradition of eating lamb can be traced back to thousands of years ago. At that time, there already had been the saying that “Having a bowl of lamp soup, no need to see the doctors.”

Healthy Living Tips
On the eleven’s solar term, the Yang Qi in human’s body is the most vigorous. People should pay attention to work and life balance and eat food which can help release the hotness. A very good dish is Chinese porridge, cooked with materials such as lotus leaf or hyacinth bean. Another proverb is “Don’t sit on rocks in the winter and woods in the summer”. This is because wood can obtain wetness after rain. Although it may look dry, it still diffuses humidity after sunshine. Sitting on wood may cause piles, rheumatism and arthritis.
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Great Heat
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Great Heat

Introduction
The “Great Heat” represents the hottest days in the year. It arrives on July 23 or 24 when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 120 degrees. It’s a season with the highest temperature, where the crops grow fastest and the most frequent time for drought, waterlogging and windy weather. After this day, firefly comes out, soil gets more and more humid and heavy thunderstorm comes from time to time. The days around the “Great Heat” witness the blossom season of jasmines and lotuses. At this time of the year, many tourists and photographers go to the park and enjoy the lotus exhibition.

Traditional Customs
There are two very contradictory customs in China for “Great Heat”, one is to eat food with cold nature and the other is to eat food with hot nature. In south-east of Hunan province, there is the tradition of eating “bean jelly grass”. It has special effect for relieving the summer heat. However, in Fujian province, people eat leechee and lamb to spend “Great Heat”. In middle and north of Hunan, people eat young chicken. They believe that eating food with hot nature can drive away the dampness.

Healthy Living Tips
People should eat more seasonal vegetables including towel gourd, broccoli and eggplant. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you should eat pumpkin, which is full of vitamins, protein and amino acid.
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Autumn Begins
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Autumn Begins

Introduction
“Autumn Begin” is the 13th solar term in the 24 solar terms. It’s on August 8 or 9 every year meaning the beginning of the fall. When it comes to this season, the leaves of the firmiana tree start to fall, thus there is a saying of “One leave falls, autumn arrives.” When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 135 degrees, the summer is passing away and the weather turns cold gradually. People can feel the wind is getting cool and see fogs in the morning sometimes. It’s also a season of harvest.

Traditional Customs
Traditions around this time include “Autumn Begins” festival, “touch the autumn”, “get the autumn fat” and so on. “Touch the autumn” happens on the day of August 15, where all the married women who still haven’t got children go to the filed in the midnight, find and touch the melon seeds, with the accompany of her sister-in-law or other females. It’s also popular to “get the autumn fat”. Since people have little appetite during the hot summer and often lose some weight, the beginning of autumn will simulate appetite again. On the day of “Autumn Begins”, many people cook meat dishes.

Healthy Living Tips
“Autumn Begins” is the season of transformation. The Yang Qi gets less and Yin Qi grows. It’s the most important time to protect one’s lung. People should not eat too much spring onions and ginger. Food such as sesame, sticky rice, honey, loquat and dairy food will be very good to the stomach.
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                             Home>>People's Daily Online Originals              Beautiful views of the 24 solar terms (14)
         (People's Daily Online)        08:57, May 24, 2012                                
Stopping the Heat
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Stopping the Heat

Introduction
“Stopping the Heat” happens on August 23 each year when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 150 degrees. At this point, the hot summer passes and heat stops. Although many of the places in China still have a day average temperature of more than 22 degree Celsius, the cold air comes from the north make the weather cool down slowly. It’s usually hot in the day and cold in the morning and in the evening. In this season, the eagle starts to hunt birds, many plants and flowers start to wither, and crops like millet, paddy rice and fine grain all get mature.

Traditional Customs
Here are some popular customs during “Stopping the Heat”.
- Welcoming the autumn: around “Stopping the Heat”, there are often celebrating activities in the folk to welcome the autumn. Nowadays, people often take a trip in the mountains to enjoy the beautiful autumn views.
- Lighting up the lantern: People light a lantern on a lotus shaped foundation and put it in the river or the sea. It’s to help the ghost of those who died in water found their way to heaven.
- Fishing Festival: As to the fishermen, this period is a good time for fishing. The temperature of the sea is still warm and there are a lot of fish, prawns and shellfish in the open sea area.

Healthy Living Tips
As Chinese often say, “It’s sleepy in the spring and tired in the autumn”. This is the period that people often feel tired and difficult to get up in the morning. In order to have enough sleep, it’s better to go to bed before 10:00am and increase one hour of sleep than in summer. When autumn comes, it’s better to eat light dishes rather than something like BBQ, or spicy meat. Foods with more vitamins are very good for health, for example, tomatoes, eggplant, potato and pear.
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White Dews
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

White Dews

Introduction
When “White Dews” comes, the temperature decreases further and the weather gets cooler. In the morning, you can see the dew on the grass and trees. “White Dews” happens around September 7 every year when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 165 degrees. At this point, the swan goose and swallow fly back to south and birds start to store food for winter. When the day comes, the cool autumn wind blows across the vast land on the north of the Huaihe River from north to south. In many places of China, the air is clear, the sky is high and the clouds are peaceful. People can often feel the gentle autumn breeze blowing.

Traditional Customs
In Fuzhou, people eat longan on this day. It’s said that eating longan on “White Dews” can provide a lot of nutrition to human’s body, like eating a whole chicken. In Nanjing, people drink “White Dews” tea. There is also the tradition of drinking “White Dews” rice wine, made of cereals such as sticky rice, sorghum.

Healthy Living Tips
“White Dews” is a typical solar term in autumn. It’s a peak season for allergic conditions and bronchial asthma. It’s better to eat less prawns, fish and seafood. This season is also very dry, making people feel thirsty all the time. Eating ginseng may help.
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Autumn Equinox
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Autumn Equinox

Introduction
On the Chinese lunar calendar, “Autumn Equinox” is the beginning of autumn and this day is just at the middle point between “Autumn Begins” to “Hoar-Frost Falls”. After “Autumn Equinox”, the temperature decreases obviously, just like the old proverbs among the farmers, “Each autumn rain makes it’s colder”, “The night of White Dews and Autumn Equinox, one night is colder than the one before”. It arrives on September 22 to September 23 each year when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 180 degrees. As said in the ancient Chinese books, “the Autumn Equinox” shows the Yin Qi and Yang Qi are half and half on this day”. This means the day and night are balanced and the heat and the cold are even. There is no polar day or polar night happening on this day on every corner of the world. In some part of the north-east China, it’s not strange to see frost at this time. The differences between the temperature in the morning and in the night are increasing, to more than 10 degree Celsius. The amount of rainfall decreases and it’s getting drier and drier in the air.

Traditional Customs
“Spring Equinox” is the time for sacrifice for the sun and “Autumn Equinox” is the time to sacrifice for the moon. According to historical research, the original moon scarification ceremony is held on the day of “Autumn Equinox”. However, since it doesn’t happens on the same day each year and sometimes the moon on this day is not the roundest. A ceremony without full noon is not a perfect one. Later, the ceremony date was changed from “Autumn Equinox” to the Mid-Autumn Festival Day. In many countryside areas in China, people still have the tradition of eating Tang Yuan (rice dumpling). Apart from eating, people boil twenty to thirty Tang Yuan without filings, plug it with thin bamboo stick and put it along the field. This is to “stick the mouth of sparrow”, hoping the sparrows won’t come to destroy the crops.

Healthy Living Tips
Based on the principle that the Yin Qi and Yang Qi are balanced on this day, people should live and eat also in a way that can balance the two inside their body. Also as temperature decreases, people should keep exercises to buid immunity. To benefiting the lungs, people can drink more water and eat food like sesame, nut, sticky rice, honey, pears and diary food.
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Cold Dews
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Cold Dews

Introduction
“Cold Dews” is the 17 solar term of the 24 solar terms and falls on October 8 or October 9 each year. It means that it’s colder than “White Dews” and the dews are becoming frost. During this period, most of the areas around Nanling enter autumn and north-east and north-west of China will soon enter winter. When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 195 degrees, the swan gooses fly to south in a “single line” or a “herringbone shaped line”, most of the sparrows are gone and chrysanthemum starts to bloom.

Traditional Customs
The autumn views in many places in China are very beautiful and people like to climb high and enjoy the view. In Beijing, many people go to Jingshan, Badachu Park and the Fragrant Hill

Healthy Living Tips
During “Cold Dew” period, the most obvious climate feature is “dry”. When it’s dry, sweat often evaporate very quickly and people can feel skin stretched, wrinkle increased, being thirsty, and often cough. Eating sesame, nut, tremella, radish, tomato, lotus root, milk and lily can help nourishing Yin Qi and moistening dryness. It’s also very good to eat some fruits such as snow pear, banana, Hami melon, apple and grape.
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Light Snow
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Light Snow

Introduction
When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 240 degrees on November 22 to November 23 each year, it’s the time for “Light Snow”. Some areas along the Yellow River start to snow. It’s usually light snow, freezing in the night and melting in the morning. The soil is not cold enough, and snow can’t accumulate a lot on the ground. During this period, the rainbow is gone since it doesn’t rain anymore. The Yang Qi goes up and Yin Qi flows down and all things lost vitality.

Traditional Customs
Traditional food for this day is glutinous rice cake. In ancient times, glutinous rice cake is traditional sacrificial offerings. It’s used by farmers to sacrifice for the “God of Ox”. Nowadays, it’s a popular food in south China. After this day, farmers also start to make preserved meat, to eat in the coming Spring Festival.

Healthy Living Tips
In order to prevent blood viscosity from increasing, it’s better to eat food which can protect vascular, such as the root of red-rooted salvia, hawthorn, black fungus, tomato and celery. Food like balsam pear, corn, buckwheat and carrots can also reduce blood fat. When it’s cold and damp outside, it’s good to eat some temperately tonifying foods such as beef and mutton.
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Heavy Snow
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Heavy Snow

Introduction
After the “Slight Snow”, it’s the “Heavy Snow”, which is around December 7 or December 8 each year. “Heavy Snow”, just like it’s meaning, indicates more snow days and snowfalls. Most of the places in China reach below 0 degree Celsius. The Hanhao Bird stop singing, the tigers shows courtship behavior and Liting, a kind of fragrant thoroughwort sprouts. “Heavy Snow” is a very important period for farmers. If the snow is very heavy, it means next year will be a harvesting year. This is because that the nitrogen compound in snow is 4 times more than those in the rain. When the snow melt and soak into the soil, the increased nitrogen in soil can be absorbed by crops quicker. At the same time, the freezing snow water can kill many pests on earth’s surface layer.

Traditional Customs
It’s the time for farmers to make sure the seed for vegetables, fruit trees and flowers, and farm animals are kept warm. It’s also necessary to check in the winter wheat field and loose the soil.

Healthy Living Tips
Many people living in north China catch cold during this period. A folk prescription is to drink “Heavy Snow Healthy Soup”, which help defense the cold. According to traditional formula, the soup should be eaten three days before, three days in the middle, and three days after the “Heavy Snow” date, at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the time where human body advocates kidney. Ingredients include 3 grams of cordyceps sinensis, 3 grams of dog meat, 3 grams of cinnamon. Boil together with water. During “Heavy Snow”, eating medlar, agaric, wax gourd soup is also very good to one’s health.
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Winter Solstice
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Winter Solstice

Introduction
“Winter Solstice” falls between the periods of December 21 to December 23. One this day, the day is the shortest and night is the longest in the year. After this day, many places in China go through the coldest period, which is called in Chinese, “Shu Jiu”, meaning counting nine. In total, there are nine periods with nine days for each. In the first and second nine days, people keep their hands in pockets; in the third and fourth nine days, people can walk on ice; in the fifth and sixth nice days, people can see willows along the river bank; in the seventh and eighth nine days, the swallow comes back and in the ninth nine days, the yak starts working. “Winter Solstice” is not only a solar term but an important festival. People eat Jiaozi in north China and eat Tang Yuan, rice dumpling in south China.


Traditional Customs
Here are some traditional foods for “Winter Solstice”.
- Wanton noodle: During the Han Dynasty, the Hsiung-Nu often invaded the broader and bullied the farmers. At that time, there were two leaders in the Hsiung-Nu army, whose surnames were “Hun” and “Tun”. Farmers hated them so much and made dumplings with their names. Thus, people formed the tradition of eating “Hun Tun”, ie the Wanton noodle, on this day.
- Red bean glutinous rice: In south China around Yangtze delta area, people have the custom of eating red bean glutinous rice. In a very old legend, the Gongmu Family has a son, who always bullied the poor people. He died on the day of “Winter Solstice”, turned into ghost and continued to do bad things. However, this ghost scared of the red bean most and people ate red bean rice to drive him away.  
- Jiaozi: Jiaozi is a necessary dish on this day no matter the family is poor or rich.

Healthy Living Tips
As Chinese medical principle believes, the Yang Qi inside people’s body is born on this day. In ancient times, there was a period considering “Winter Solstice” as the beginning of the year. People believe that when the Yang Qi is born, it should be raised and protected just like crops. Only when it’s well protected, people’s health can be in a good condition for the whole year. If someone has chronic disease and need long time supplement, they should take nourishment from “Winter Solstice” to “Spring Begins”. If someone only need short term supplement, they only need to take nourishment around the third nine days of the nice periods mentioned above.
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Slight Cold
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Slight cold

Introduction
“Slight Cold” is the 23 solar term and happens on January 5 to January 7 when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 285 degrees. To China, “Slight Cold” indicates the weather starts to enter the coldest days. When “Slight cold” comes, the wild goose all move to north and magpie starts to build their homes. The average temperature in Beijing during this period is around minus 5 degree Celsius and some places in north China can reach minus 30 degree Celsius. Temperature around Qinling Mountain and Huaihe River is kept at around 0 degree Celsius.

Traditional Customs
In Nanjing, people often eat vegetable-rice. Traditional Nanjing people cook vegetable-rice on this day with different ingredients. Some cook it with green vegetables, bacon, sausage or dried salted duck, together with some ginger and boil with glutinous rice. In Guangdong province, people eat glutinous rice in the morning. Usually the rice consists of 60 percent of glutinous rice and 40 percent of fragrant rice. People fry some preserved meat and peanut and eat it together with the rice.

Healthy Living Tips
To prevent from the coldness, it’s better to eat food that can provide heat and energy to human’s body, for example, food with hot natures including trout, hot pepper, cinnamon and pepper, and food with warm nature such as glutinous rice, chives, fennel, caraway, asparagus, leaf mustard, pumpkin, ginger, spring onion, garlic, apricot, peach, dates, longan, leechee, papaya, cheery, pomegranate, plum, chestnut, almond, lamb, pig’s liver, chicken, goose egg, eel, chub, prawn, sea cucumber and so on.
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Great Cold
            Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Great Cold

Introduction
“Great Cold”, the last solar term in 24 solar terms, comes around January 20 each year. In this period, the cold waves from Siberia arrives in China. The snow and rain as well as the icy cold weather exert a big influence on people’s life and transportation. When the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 300 degrees, hens start to hatch, eagles fly everywhere trying to find food and water freeze to the thickest level. When this day arrives, it’s time to welcome the Spring Festival. People get busy with buying new things, salting the meat and preparing New Year good. “Great Cold” represents the end of 24 solar terms and also marks the end of winter.

Traditional Customs
During “Great Cold”, there are still not many farming activities. In north China, people get busy with preparing the fertilizer. In south China, people are often busy with catching field mouse. Another important day during this period is the “La Ba” Festival. “La” means the last month of lunar calendar and “Ba” means eight. People usually make porridge with 8 kind of mixed grains and corns, i.e. “La Ba porridge”, and eat it during the last month of the lunar calendar.

Healthy Living Tips
Winter is a time for all lives to hide. When everything is hiding from the cold, human body’s supersession is also very slow. During this period, people should sleep early and get up late, and try to save the Yang Qi inside the body.
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