Customs Concerning the 24 Solar Terms

24 solar terms have their indicative meanings to instruct people’s life in a year. With time passing by, many customs relating to solar terms appeared and man of them have been passed down, like eating dumplings on Winter Solstice and worshipping ancestors in Qingming Festival. Here are top customs and things to know about the 24 solar terms.

Eat Dumplings on Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. In the northern China where the weather can be bitterly cold, Chinese ancestors lacked sufficient warm clothing and would eat hot food to keep warm. Gradually there came a saying that only by eating dumplings can you avoid becoming so frozen that your ears drop off. Thus this solar term custom is still widespread and on that day we eat steaming hot and delicious dumplings. In southern China, people eat glutinous rice balls instead.

In addition to eating dumplings and glutinous rice balls, Chinese also have a solar term custom of counting nine ('Shu Jiu') starting Winter Solstice, that is, from the Winter Solstice people calculated the number of days until a change of climate came about. Usually nine days is a section, there are a total of nine sections from the first Jiu to the ninth Jiu. In the folklore there is a widely prevailing ballad the general meaning of which is that: in the first and second Jiu (a section of 18 days), we can't take our hands outside; in the third and fourth Jiu we walk on the ice; in the fifth and sixth Jiu we see the light green willow; in the seventh Jiu river thaws and in the eighth swallows come; in the ninth cattle begin to work.

Drink Tea on Beginning of Summer

The Beginning of Summer will bring abundant rain and lead directly to the harvest. Thus an agricultural adage is that 'no rain, no rice' and 'no rain, we will hang up the hoe.' In ancient China, the emperors would perform a special rite to greet summer on that day. Nowadays, as the hot weather would cause people to lose weight and become exhausted, it become the custom to weigh and drink tea as this is considered a guard against the torrid weather.

Eat Radishes on Beginning of Spring

The Beginning of Spring symbolizes the start of a lunar year and the weather will become warmer and warmer. Looking forward to good fortune and smoothly running business, people have the custom of eating radishes on that day, believing that they would generate calm. This may be because of their effect to soothe the stomach.

Worship Ancestors and Spring Outing on Qingming Festival

Qingming Festival is a moment of importance for it is the day on which to worship ancestors. It is also called 'Cold Food Festival' as on that day cooking is forbidden and all are allowed to eat only cold food, for fear of being chastised by the immortals in heaven. Also, as the climate becomes warmer and flowers start to blossom, an important Qingming Festival custom is go spring outing with families and friends. Around Qingming Festival, there is often a lot of rain, thus it is a crucial time in agriculture to plant grain or trees.

Snowing on Greater Snow Promises a Fruitful Year

Greater Snow is the day around which we will have dancing snow. The scenery is extremely charming. For farmers, heavy snow foretells a good harvest and so is regarded as auspicious. In China we have the saying that 'a timely snow promises a good harvest'. Thus you can see how welcome the snow is.

* Please select a date according to the Gregorian calendar and search for the corresponding Chinese calendar information.

- Last updated on Jan. 06, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Customs Concerning the 24 Solar Terms
Asked by Pamela Milask from UNITED STATES | Jan. 05, 2022 23:54Reply
So according to the Chinese lunisolar calander, when does winter begin? When do spring, summer, and fall begin? When would one adjust their diet to be aligned with the forthcoming season? I undestnd it differs from the Western view. thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Dylan | Jan. 06, 2022 09:58

According to Chinese lunar calendar, the Beginning of Spring falls on Feb. 3 or 4, the Beginning of Summer on May 5 or 6, Autumn on Aug. 7 or 8, and Winter on Nov. 7 or 8.
Asked by Pamela Teh from MALAYSIA | Jan. 17, 2019 06:58Reply
Exact year of Clash Zodiac.
1988 Feb10 Male with 1988 Sept29 Female.
Our favored Date of Marriage: 10 Oct 2020.
However, noticed that it clashes with our Zodiac. May i know, how to find out the exact clash year for the Zodiac? Please advice. Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Julia from NEW ZEALAND | Jan. 17, 2019 19:55

Hi, the Oct. 8, 18 and 20 can avoid the zodiac clash and maybe you can change a date.
Asked by Alice from CANADA | Jan. 30, 2018 20:42Reply
Female dog with a male tiger
Can a Chinese ethnicity female dog born in Feb 1994 have a good husband and wife relationship with a non Asian male tiger born July 1986?
Answers (3)
Answered by Jacob from USA | Jan. 31, 2018 21:57

Yes, you can become a suitable couple. Your relationship will be well maintained as fresh as before. There is no big rise and fall in your life time, but will never be a lack of romance and passion. Good luck!
Answered by Kim from CANADA | Jun. 02, 2018 11:24

Female born 1984 and male born 1983 would be a good match?
Answered by Abel from USA | Jun. 03, 2018 21:11

May I know your detailed dates?
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