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 and people’s lifestyles even now. Grain in Ear (Chinese: mangzhong), the 9th term of the year, begins on June 6 and ends on June 20 in 2015.
Grain in Ear means seeds of crops such as barley and wheat are ripe; it indicates a busy time for the farmers. “Mangzhong” is also a homophone of “busy to plant” in Chinese.
The temperature during the term increases rapidly with abundant rainfalls. The lower-middle reaches of the Yangtze River basin formally enters into the rainy season from the Grain in Ear. The southeast China meets with the rainiest period with the most precipitation. The majority parts of China experience the hotness of the summer except Tibet Plateau and some northernmost areas. The scorching weathers above 35℃ are common in China and some even reach 40℃ or so.
There are several traditions you should know about Grain in Ear.
"An Miao" (means seedling protection), a traditional farming activity in southeast China, has been put into practice since the early Ming Dynasty. People make the dough into different shapes and color them with vegetable juice. They are offered as the sacrifice for a good harvest in the ceremonies.
Farewell to the flora
As the flowers become withered and fallen since June, the ancient people in China held sacrificial ceremonies to say farewell to the flora and show their gratitude on the solar term. Although the tradition does not exist today, we can learn it from the famous Chinese classical novel Dream of Red Mansions.
Young people of Dong ethnic group in Guizhou hold mud wrestling competitions during Grain in Ear. The youth throw mud to each other while transplanting rice by hand. The one with the most mud on him is the most popular person among them.
During the Grain in Ear, green plums turn mature. Green plums, rich in natural organic acids and vitamins, serve several functions such as blood fat reduction, acid-base balance and tiredness allaying. The fresh plums are acrid in taste. Only after boiling can the green plums be eaten.