The Chinese calendar is divided into 24 Solar Terms. The Autumn season in the Chinese calendar is divided into 6 periods from August 7 to November 6. How do natural changes during this period affect daily life?
Seasons of China (四季中国) is a TV 24-episode documentary series that examine the impact of 24 Solar Terms on contemporary China. Created by Xinhua News Agency CNC.
Episode 13: Beginning of Autumn 立秋 lìqiū
The 13 solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on August 7 and ends on August 22.
This period signifies the end of summer and the start of autumn. During this transitional season, the air is getting cooler, and leaves begin to fall.
Accordingly, a popular idiom in China says: “luoyezhiqiu,” meaning that one will sense the autumn when seeing leaves falling from the trees.
Agriculture, it is notable that the Chinese character for autumns秋qiu consists of two parts: 禾 he, which means rice, and 火 huo, which means fire.Together they signify the ripeness period of rice.
The traditional food at the Beginning of Autumn includes watermelons, green beans, and chili peppers.
Episode 14: End of Heat (处暑Chǔ Shu)
The 14 solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on August 22 and ends on September 7.
This period signifies the end (处 Chǔ) of the hot summer (暑 Shu) and the beginning of autumn. During this season, the temperatures in northern China gradually drop.
In terms of health, during this season one should nurture his or her Yin and suppress dryness in the body. The traditional food at the End of Heat includes duck.
Episode 15: White Dew (bái lù 白露)
The 15 solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on September 7 and ends on September 22.
This period signifies the transition from summer to autumn. White Dew is a great season for traveling in China.
The days are still warm, but during nights the temperatures decline, and the vapors in the air often condense into white dew on the grass, flowers, and trees.
During this period, grapes are widely available, and eating them can help dispel internal heat and expel toxins.
Other traditional food and medicine in White Dew include Longan fruit, sweet potato, and white hibiscus. In Jiangsu province, some people make sweet White
Dew Wine, which is traditionally made of glutinous rice and sorghum. The tea in this season also has a rich and sweetish fragrance.
Episode 16: Autumn Equinox (秋分qiū fēn)
The 16 solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on September 22 and ends on October 7.
This period signifies the midpoint of autumn, and after that day the location of direct sunlight moves south, making the days shorter and the nights longer in the northern hemisphere.
According to the tradition, in Autumn Equinox the Yin and Yang forces are balances in power – the days and nights lengths are equal, and the hot and cold temperatures are even as well.
In this period, it is common in China to eat Crab meat and seasonal autumn vegetables (qiucai). Autumn Equinox is also an excellent season to enjoy chrysanthemums flowers, which are in full blossom. In ancient days, this was also a time of sacrificing to the moon.
Episode 17: Cold Dew (寒露Hánlù)
The 17 solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on October 8 and ends on October 23. Cold Dew signifies the official end of autumn, when the dawn awakens with a wet land, and dewdrops glisten over leaves and flowers.
In this period, the temperatures drop and many regions in China are getting foggy. Traditionally, people around the country eat crab meat, pomegranates, hawthorns berries, and drink chrysanthemum wine, which is believed to prevent the autumn dryness.
According to old records, this type of wine may grant people a long-lasting youth. Cold Dew is also good time for fishing in shallow water. Finally, it is a perfect time for hiking as in many regions the forests leaves turn yellow and red.
Episode 18: The Frost’s Descent (Shuang Jiang, “霜降” in Chinese):
is the 18th term and the last in autumn. It signifies a transition period from autumn to winter, during which the temperature gets much colder than before. On the days of the Frost’s Descent, health care is especially important, and there is a Chinese folk saying, “Nourishing your body during days of the Frost’s Descent is better than doing that all year”. In terms of health protection, people should focus on protecting their bodies, and so nourishing foods, such as sesame, honey, green vegetables, apple and banana are preferred. In order to prevent sickness, vulnerable old people should pay high attention to weather change and dress right according to the weather.