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24 Solar Terms

Solar Terms is a calendar of twenty-four periods and climate to govern agricultural arrangements in ancient China and functions even now. As we have mentioned the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, it takes into account the longest and the shortest days and the two days each year when the length of the day equals that of the night. In other words, the significant days are the Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice and the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

Today the year comprises 24 Solar Terms. During the Shang Dynasty they only used four; the Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 221BC), used eight; but it was in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC - 24) that the 24 terms were finally decided upon.

These solar terms have meaningful titles. Some of them reflect the change of seasons such as the Beginning of Spring, the Beginning of Summer, the Beginning of Autumn, and the Beginning of Winter; some embody the phenomena of climate like the Waking of Insects (Jing Zhe), Pure Brightness (Qing Ming), Lesser Fullness of Grain (Xiao Man) and Grain in Beard (Mang Zhong); and some indicate the change of climate like Rain Water (Yu Shui), Grain Rain (Gu Yu), Lesser Heat (Xiao Shu), Greater Heat (Da Shu), and so on.

These twenty-four solar terms each suggest the position of the sun every time it travels15 degrees on the ecliptic longitude. In each month there are often two solar terms; the first one is generally named 'Jie Qi' and the other one 'Zhong Qi'. Their dates are mirrored by the Gregorian calendar, so we find that during the first half of a year 'Jie Qi' is around the 6th day of a solar month, 'Zhong Qi' around the 21st; in the second half of a year, 'Jie Qi' is around the 8th and 'Zhong Qi' around the 23rd.

24 Solar Terms in 2016

Solar Terms



Lesser Cold (Xiao Han) Jan. 6th It is rather cold
Greater Cold (Da Han) Jan. 20th The coldest moment of a year
The Beginning of Spring (Li Chun) Feb. 4th Spring begins
Rain Water (Yu Shui) Feb. 19th It begins to rain
The Waking of Insects (Jing Zhe) Mar. 5th Hibernating animals come to sense
The Spring Equinox (Chun Fen) Mar. 20th Day and night are equally long
Pure Brightness (Qing Ming) Apr. 4th It is warm and bright
Grain Rain (Gu Yu) Apr. 19th Rainfall is helpful to grain
The Beginning of Summer (Li Xia) May 5th Summer begins
Lesser Fullness of Grain (Xiao Man) May 20th Kernels plump
Grain in Beard (Mang Zhong) Jun. 5th Wheat grows ripe
The Summer Solstice (Xia Zhi) Jun. 21st It has the longest daytime and the shortest night of the year
Lesser Heat (Xiao Shu) Jul. 7th Torridity comes
Greater Heat (Da Shu) Jul. 22nd The hottest moment of a year
The Beginning of Autumn (Li Qiu) Aug. 7th Autumn begins
The End of Heat (Chu Shu) Aug. 23rd Heat hides
White Dew (Bai Lu) Sep. 7th Dew curdles
The Autumn Equinox (Qiu Fen) Sep. 22nd The mid of autumn
Cold Dew (Han Lu) Oct. 8th Dew is very cold
Frost's Descent (Shuang Jiang) Oct. 23rd Frost descends
The Beginning of Winter (Li Dong) Nov. 7th Winter begins
Lesser Snow (Xiao Xue) Nov. 22nd it begins to snow
Greater Snow (Da Xue) Dec. 7th It snows heavily
The Winter Solstice (Dong Zhi) Dec. 21st The shortest daytime and the longest night of a year

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