In China, the lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. The solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production even now. Solar terms are also useful today to guide people’s lives through special foods, cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips.
Grain Buds (Chinese: xiaoman), the 8th term of the year, begins on May 21 and ends on June 5 this year. It means the seeds of summer crops begin to be plump and full but are not ripe. From Grain Buds, all parts of the country are going into summer with narrower temperature gap between the south and north areas. Precipitation will gradually increase in a large degree.
There are some features and traditions about Grain Buds you should know.
Grain Buds is a season for eating the herb of the common sow thistle, which is one of the earliest edible potherbs in China. It tastes a little bitter and sweet. It can be made into different types of dishes. The fresh and refreshing potherb is rich in nutrition with various kinds of vitamins. The medical function of the herb is heat-clearing, detoxifying and blood-cooling. Besides, it is a good time to eat big and flat fish and shrimp because of the increasing rainfall and the rising water level.
Tips on regimen
In this solar term disease has become more common especially the skin diseases. People should be aware of the idea of preventive treatment of disease in two aspects: enhance the body immunity and prevent pathogen invasion. Patients can adopt some diet therapies by eating delicate vegetable tastes and avoiding fat and acrimony. It is time to take regular exercises and strengthen the body.
Celebrating silkworm deity birthday
According to legends, Grain Buds is the birthday of silkworm deity. In ancient times, lots of people from the Jiangnan areas (southern regions of the downstream Yangtze River) reared of silkworms to make a living. Silkworms were quite difficult to breed and people regarded them as the God-given gifts. In order to pray for blessings and bloom in silk industry, people in southern China hold ceremonies to thank and celebrate the birthday of the deity.
Sacrificing the waterwheel deity
In some rural areas, offering sacrifice to waterwheel deity is an ancient traditional custom. People farmed and planted crops greatly depending on waterwheels and therefore they paid respect to the important farming tool. In the ceremony, people would spill a bottle of boiled water into fields, wishing for watery and good harvest.