Chinese Name: 夏至
English Name: Xiazhi; Summer Solstice; the 10th of the 24 solar terms
Date: June 20 (21 or 22)
Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 90°
Xiazhi夏至, one of the 10th of the 24 Solar Terms二十四节气. Since ancient times, there has been the custom of worshiping gods and ancestors on the summer solstice to pray for a good year. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 90° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 105°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 90°.
At this time, much of the northern hemisphere receives the most hours of daylight, but it does not bring the hottest temperatures which will come only 20 to 30 days later.
Since ancient times, folks have the custom of offering sacrifices to gods and ancestors on the summer solstice. In addition, after the summer solstice, people generally eat Ching bo leung清补凉, Herbal tea凉茶, and sour plum soup to escape the heat.
The Summer Solstice, where the sun shines directly on the ground, reaches the northernmost point of the year, with the longest daylight hours in the northern hemisphere. During this period, the temperature in most parts of China was high, the sunshine was sufficient, the crops grew rapidly, and the physiological and ecological water requirements were high.
After the Xiazhi, the ground is heated strongly and the air convection is forceful. What’s more, thunderstorms are frequent in the afternoon and evening and come and go quickly, and the range of rainfall is limited.
Liu Yuxi刘禹锡, a poet in the Tang Dynasty唐朝, once cleverly used this kind of weather as a metaphor, and wrote the famous poem “sunrise in the east and rain in the west, the road is sunny but sunny”. “sunny” represents “love”, showing the shy and undisclosed psychological activities of traditional Chinese women. However, the heavy precipitation brought by convective weather is not as beautiful as the poems describe, and often brings local disasters.
Health Tips in Xiazhi
In the course of Xiazhi, people obviously feel tired, hot and even short of breath. Moreover, their appetite will also decrease significantly. Therefore, a daily lunch break seems necessary to ensure you stay in good spirits. In the diet, you should eat more light-flavored foods, such as porridge in the morning and evening. In addition to a light diet, you can also eat more bitter vegetables, such as bitter melon苦瓜 and coriander香菜. They have the functions of removing dryness and dampness, cooling and relieving summer heat, and promoting appetite.
After the summer solstice, the temperature gradually rises, and the amount of sweating of the human body will also increase, so the human body needs a large amount of water. In this regard, drinking some sour plum soup can be a good option. But something should be noted that sour plum soup should not be drunk too much, it does not recommend drinking it as water. People with a cold constitution and weak constitution are also not suitable for drinking sour plum soup.
Eating noodles 吃面
Since ancient times, there has been a saying in some parts of China that “dumplings on the winter solstice and noodles on the summer solstice”, and eating noodles on the summer solstice is an important custom in many areas. Because the new wheat has appeared on the summer solstice, so eating noodles on the summer solstice also has a new meaning.
Dragon boat racing 划龙舟
Dragon boat racing is a custom that existed in the Warring States Period战国时代. During the Warring States Period, people carved dragon-shaped canoes in the sound of drums and played racing games to entertain the gods and people. The dragon boat racing at this time was a semi-religious and semi-entertainment program in the ritual.
Various sacrificial and commemorative ceremonies will be held before the dragon boat race. Nowadays, these superstitious ceremonies are rare, but in the past, people sacrificed to the Dragon Temple in a very serious atmosphere, praying for good harvests and good weather, and expressing people’s good wishes.
Due to the local climate, Dragon boat races have been held on the Summer Solstice day in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province浙江省 rather than on Dragon Boat Festival since the Ming dynasty明朝 (1368-1644) and Qing dynasty清朝 (1644-1911). This tradition is still in practice today, with all the attendant excitement.
Worship gods and ancestors 祭神祭祖
During the Xiazhi, folks have been celebrating the harvest and offering sacrifices to ancestors since ancient times, in order to pray for a prosperous year. People in the ancient farming society had various regular festivals when they chose a day to worship gods and ancestors while living and working in peace and contentment. Worshiping gods and ancestors and offering rich tributes developed festive feasts, and gradually formed some customary methods of celebration, the so-called festival folk customs.