The Chinese calendar is divided into 24 Solar Terms. The summer season in the Chinese calendar is divided into 6 hot days from May 5 to August 5. 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 7: The Start of Summer (立夏 li xia)
The 7th among the 24 Solar Terms of the Chinese Lunar calendar, starting on May 5. As its name suggests, this term signals the arrival of summer – “li” (立) means to start, and “Xia” (夏) means summer, which also refers to “Jia” (假) in ancient Chinese that implies to growth. Thus, the Start of Summer stands for the beginning of growth in nature.
During the Start of Summer, it is vital to maintain a light diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Spicy and salty food is advised to be avoided. In southern China, for example, it is said that three kinds of fresh food should be eaten, such as cherry, plums, bamboo shoots. In some areas, people enjoy drinking green tea, which is believed to dispel the rising heat.
Episode 9: “Grain in Ear” (芒种mángzhǒng)
The ninth solar term. It begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 75° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 90°. In the Gregorian calendar, the Mangzhong begins around June 5 and ends around June 21. During this period, farmers are busy harvesting barley and wheat and sowing summer seeds.
Episode 10: Summer Solstice (夏至, Xiàzhì)
The 10th solar term of the year. It begins on June 21 and ends on July 5. During this period, daylight lasts the longest for the whole year in the northern hemisphere, and after this day, daylight hours get shorter while temperatures become higher.A famous old saying in Shandong province goes: “eat dumplings on the Winter Solstice and eat noodles on Summer Solstice.” In fact, many people around China still eat chilled noodles in this period.
Episode 11: Minor Heat (小暑, xiǎo shǔ)
The 11th solar term of the year. It begins on July 7 and ends on July 22. This term signifies the beginning of the hottest period, but the extreme hot point has yet to arrive. In Minor Heat, people around China enjoy eating dumplings as well as melons, and watch the lotus flowers, which are then in full bloom.
Episode 12: Major Cold (大暑，dà shǔ)
The 12th solar term of the year. It begins on July 22 and ends on August 5. In this period, the duration of the sunshine is the longest, the average temperature is the highest, and the rainfall in China is the greatest. In Major Heat, people around China enjoy eating fresh litchi, pineapples, mizao (fermented rice), and Xiancaodong (grass jelly). A popular saying in Guangdong province goes: “eating herb jelly in Major Heat will make you stay young like the immortals.”