Life in China 2017: A Picture a Day, March 5 – As most people do, I grew up with four seasons separating each year. However, in China, and some other Asian countries, there are 24 solar terms that separate the year! These 24 Solar terms, called Jie Qi节气, originated thousands of years ago as a guide for farmers (maybe like the Western Farmers Almanac?), and are still used today. But, they are so much more than agricultural terms to the Chinese people! They offer insight on the weather, the best foods to eat during each time period, and a general guide to daily living. For many of the terms, our office even sends out notices telling you what kind of weather to expect or even what foods you should eat for the best health during this period!
Translations of the terms are: Spring Begins, The Rains, Insects Awaken, Vernal Equinox, Clear and Bright, Grain Rain are all in spring.
Summer Begins, Grain Buds, Grain in Ear, Summer Solstice, Slight Heat, Great Heat, are all in summer.
Autumn Begins, Stopping the Heat, White Dews, Autumn Equinox, Cold Dews, Hoar-Frost Falls are all in autumn.
Winter Begins, Light Snow, Heavy Snow, Winter Solstice, Slight Cold, Great Cold are all in winter.
Today, March 5th, 2017, is the 3rd solar term of the year, called Awakening of Insects (Chinese: Jing Zhe). Tradition says that hibernating animals (not just insects) are awakened by the spring thunder. Supposedly, if thunder happens before this date, you can expect unusual weather for the rest of the year! The picture is of some water striders we actually saw a couple of days ago; there were hundreds of them on the pond!
Here is a short YouTube video about the 24 solar terms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSfoDp_rglU