Chinese Name: 芒种
English Name: Mangzhong; Grain in Ear; the 9th of the 24 solar terms
Date: June 5 (6 or 7)
Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 75°
Mangzhong芒种, one of the ninth of the 24 Solar Terms二十四节气, the third solar term of summer. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 75° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 90°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 75°.
The arrival of Grain in Ear signifies the ripening of crops such as wheat and it is also a busy period for farmers which can be seen from many farm sayings. One of the folks is, “Getting busy with farm work in Grain in Ear,” prevailing in many provinces. The solar term of the Mangzhong is the dividing point of the timing of planting crops. Due to the hot weather, it has entered a typical summer, and the agricultural sowing is bounded by this season.
After this solar term, the survival rate of crops is getting lower and lower. There is a saying in Guizhou贵州 that goes, “If you don’t plant rice in Grain in Ear, planting will be in vain.” It can be seen that the Mangzhong is particularly important for planting rice.
The climatic characteristics of the Mangzhong solar term are that the temperature rises significantly, the rainfall is abundant, and the air is full of humidity. During this period, high-temperature weather is frequent, the humidity is high and muggy, whether it is in the south or the north, there is a possibility of high-temperature weather. During the solar term, the southeast monsoon rain belt in southern China is stable, and the south of the Yangtze River enters the plum rain. Mangzhong is the solar term, and the northern part of our country has not yet entered the rainy season.
During this period, except for the Qinghai青海–Tibet Plateau青藏高原 and some northernmost areas of Heilongjiang黑龙江, where summer has not really entered, people in most areas can generally experience the heat of summer.
Health Tips in Mangzhong
Chinese people have paid attention to health preservation since ancient times, and they are customed to “advance with the times”. Different solar term corresponds to relative health methods. When it comes to Mangzhong, because the day is long and the night is short, it is necessary to go to bed late and get up early to ensure adequate sleep. Therefore, it is necessary to take a nap at noon to relieve fatigue.
At the same time, in order to cultivate body and mind, people’s diet should not eat greasy or strongly flavored food during Grain in Ear, that’s the healthcare advice given more than a thousand years ago by Chinese pharmaceutical expert Sun Simiao孙思邈 of the Tang Dynasty唐朝 (AD618-907). Generally, vegetables and coarse grains that work in lowering blood pressure and blood fat should be the first choice. During this season, people are encouraged to consume less lamb, pork, hot peppers, onions and ginger if they are frequently feeling thirsty and tired.
Say farewell to the flora 送花神
In ancient China, on the second day of the second lunar month农历月, people welcome the arrival of the Flower Goddess. During Grain in Ear people hold sacrificial ceremonies to bid farewell to the flora and show their gratitude.
Today, this custom does not exist in many areas of China. The liveliness and excitement of the ceremony can still be seen in the 27th chapter of the Chinese classic novel A Dream of the Red Chamber红楼梦 by Cao Xueqin曹雪芹.
Mud wrestling 打泥巴仗
Youngsters of the Kam people侗族 in southeastern Guizhou province hold mud wrestling matches during Grain in Ear. On this day newlyweds, accompanied by their good friends, plant rice together. While planting, they throw mud at each other. At the end of this activity, whoever has the most mud on them proves they are the most popular person.
Boil green plums 煮青梅
In South China, May and June are the seasons when plums become ripe. There was an allusion that Cao Cao曹操 and Liu Bei刘备, two central figures in the Three Kingdoms period (AD220-280), talked about heroes while boiling green plums.
Green plums contain a variety of natural and high-quality organic acids and are rich in minerals. They can help clean blood, lower blood lipids, eliminate tiredness and improve one’s looks. However, fresh plums are acerbic and need to be boiled before serving.