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Yushui 雨水 – 24 Solar Terms

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Chinese Name: 雨水

English Name: Rain Water(literally meaning); Yushui; the 2nd Term of the 24 Solar Terms

Date: February 18 or 19

Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 330°

Rain water 雨水
Yushui 雨水

Brief Introduction

Yushui 雨水 is the second of the 24 Solar Terms二十四节气. The meaning of the rain solar term is the beginning of rainfall, and the rainfall level is mostly light rain or drizzle.

Yushui signals the increase in rainfall and rise in temperature. With its arrival, lively spring-like scenery starts blossoming: the river water defreezes, wild geese move from south to north, and trees and grass turn green again.

yushui 雨水

According to an old Chinese saying, the rainfall in spring is as precious as oil(春雨贵如油). In northern China, the spring drought is common and the precipitation of this season accounts for only 10 to 15 percent of annual average rainfall. Therefore, Yushui is considered as a key period for irrigation when the day gets warmer and rainfall increases . During the Yushui, the weather changes unpredictably, and it is one of the seasons with the coldest waves throughout the year.

Return of cold spell 倒春寒
Return of cold spell 倒春寒

Extra care is needed to cope with a returning cold spell in the late spring that often happen during Yushui period. The fast increase in air humidity due to rainfall can result in lower temperature and wet weather. It is strongly advised not to take off the thick coats too early and to keep warm, especially elderly and children.

Astronomical calendar of Yushui

Every year around February 18th in the Gregorian calendar is the rainwater solar term. At this time, the sun reaches 330 degrees of the ecliptic longitude, which is the “rainwater” solar term. The rainy season generally begins on February 18 or 19 and ends on March 4 or 5.

Climatic Change

The meaning of the rain solar term is the beginning of rainfall, but the rainfall level is mostly light rain or drizzle. When the rainy solar term comes, the direct point of the sun is gradually approaching the equator from the southern hemisphere. At this time, in the northern hemisphere, the sunshine hours and intensity are increasing, the temperature rises quickly, and the warm and humid air from the ocean becomes active and gradually moves northward.


yushui 雨水

Advance; at the same time, the cold air is not to be outdone in the weakening trend, and it frequently competes with the warm air to form rainfall.


Folk-Custom Activity

Yushui Festival is a very imaginative and human solar term. On this day, whether it rains or not, it is full of poetic and poetic feeling of rain. People are also begging for smooth and well-being in different forms on this day.

Visit to in-laws 拜丈人

One of the main customs during Rain Water is husbands visiting their in-laws and giving gifts. According to the tradition, gifts are usually two cane chairs winded with four meters of red belt, which symbolizes good health and longevity. Another typical gift is a pot of cooked dish that contains pig’s knuckles stewed with soya and kelp, by which the son-in-law expresses his respect and gratitude. If it is a newly married son-in-law for the festival, the father-in-law and mother-in-law will also give back umbrellas, so that the son-in-law can go out and run around, which can shelter the wind and rain, and also means to wish the son-in-law a smooth and safe journey in life.

Visit to in-laws 拜丈人
Visit to in-laws 拜丈人

Finding godfather 拉保保

Another old custom is to find a godfather for little kids. Rainfall brings vitality to the earth; therefore people in the past believed that this practice would give their kids healthy and safe growth. The custom can be traced back to the health services of the past when many children’s diseases could not be cured at all. Therefore, parents wanted a godfather to shower their blessings and good luck on their children. This old practice was popular in Sichuan area.

Finding godfather 拉保保
Finding godfather 拉保保

With the development of the times, the meaning and form of Finding godfather have changed gradually. The original superstition that the collar protects Guansha has gradually changed into connecting feelings, helping each other, and caring about the growth of the next generation through pulling Kids.

Eating Nutritious porridge 养生粥

The wet and damp weather during Rain Water period is considered harmful for people’s spleen and stomach according to Chinese medical practice. Therefore, a bowl of nutritious porridge is the best choice to nourish the body. People in Beijing often eat porridge cooked with Rehmannia glutinosa libosch, a kind of Chinese herb medicine, to resist cold and wet weather and eliminate heat from the blood. It is also good for people with constipation, arthritis and headaches.

Nutritious porridge 养生粥
Nutritious porridge 养生粥

Rain Water, the 2nd Term of the 24 Solar Terms

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