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 function even now.
Start of Summer (Chinese: lixia), the 7th term of the year, begins on May 6 and ends on May 20 this year. It signifies the beginning of summer in East Asian cultures. From this term, the temperature will rise rapidly and it is key time to take care of crops.
Here are some things you should know about Start of Summer.
Greeting Start of Summer
Start of Summer is believed as a crucial time for summer crops. In Ancient China, the emperor led his officials to have a royal ceremony to greet the Start of Summer and pray for a good harvest. It’s said that most of the decorations were arranged in the color red, representing respect and happiness.
Checking one’s weight
The custom of weighing people at the Start of Summer originated from the Three Kingdoms Period and prevails in South China today. It was believed this activity can bring health and good luck to the people weighted.
In ancient China, people believed eating eggs on the day of Start of Summer could protect people free of illness. They put tea into boiled water together with eggs and later improved cooking methods to make eggs taste delicious. That is the origin of “tea egg”.
On the special day, parents will prepare boiled eggs and put them in a knitted bag before hanging them on their child’s chest. Hanging eggs is believed to promise child a carefree life.
Children will gather together to play egg competitions in pairs and the one whose egg is not broken wins at last.