|Start of Autumn, the 13th solar term of the year, begins this year on Aug. 7 and ends on Aug. 22. [Lin Dihuan/China Daily]|
The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Start of Autumn, Liqiu in Chinese, the 13th solar term of the year, begins on August 7 this year and ends on August 22.
Liqiu is a big solar term for farmers as it is a time for harvest. In addition, the leaves of the phoenix tree start to fall. As a popular saying goes in Chinese: "A falling leave reveals the coming of the fall."
When it comes to this season, the summer is passing away. People can feel the wind is getting cool and see dew in the morning.
Drying Crops in Autumn
During harvest time, villagers will dry their produce such as corn, pumpkin, hot chili peppers and chrysanthemum flowers on the roofs of their houses. The tradition is called "Shaiqiu" or "drying crops in autumn sunshine".
Fleshing Out in Autumn
People often weigh themselves on the first day of Liqiu and compare their weight to what it was at the start of summer. If one has lost weight during the summer, then at the beginning of autumn, he or she needs to flesh out by eating many different kinds of delicious food, especially meat.
"Biting autumn" is a folk custom that signifies biting onto autumn and not letting it go. Many believe that eating a particular kinds of food on Liqiu, in most cases watermelon, can bring along a healthy year.
In east China, people eat peaches for Liqiu. The peach pits are kept until New Year's Eve and thrown into the stove then burned into ash, so as to "burn" out any possible illnesses that may harm one's health.
In northeast China, people usually eat dumplings for Liqiu. People grab dumplings from others' bowls, which means they will get enough nutrition for keeping fit in the new season.
Liqiu is the season of transformation. The yang (masculine) qi (vital energy) gets less and yin (feminine) 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.
(Source: Xinhua/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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