Frost’s Descent (Shuangjiang) falls on October 23 on the Gregorian calendar this year. After this solar term, dew becomes frost as the weather gets colder with each passing day. Frost is formed when the temperature of the land surface drops below 0oC.
Frost’s Descent is the last solar term in autumn, and it is also the transition period from autumn to winter. The temperature drops sharply at this time of the year, plants and grasses begin to wither, and crops which are not hardy enough stop growing and wait to be harvested. The temperature difference between North China and South China is still big. In most northern provinces, the average temperature drops below 0oC, while in the south, frost remains unseen.
Maple leaves covered in frost are seen as the most beautiful scenery in late autumn. When most plants are withered, the orange and red maple leaves remain on trees all over the mountains, glowing red like flames in the sunlight. The Fragrant Hills in the northwest of Beijing are famous as a sight to enjoy in the fall.
On pond surfaces, lotus leaves drop their heads and wither. Beneath are lotus roots waiting to be dug out and delivered to dinner tables.
Almost all plants wither after Frost’s Descent. However, it’s also the best time for yams, cabbages, and carrots to be harvested.
People eat persimmons around Frost’s Descent as they are fully mature. Persimmons with frost on the surface are sweetest. It’s said that eating such persimmons can prevent you from catching a cold in winter. They can be eaten fresh or as a preserved fruit.
The vitamins and sugar that persimmons contain are normally one or two times higher than those in other fruits. If you eat one each day, then the vitamin C it gives you can meet half your body’s daily requirements. However, though delicious, persimmons shouldn’t be eaten on an empty stomach and people with diabetes or dyspepsia should exercise restraint. Besides, as this is the time when hairy crabs are on the market, as both crabs and persimmons are considered to be a “cold” food in Chinese culture, it’s best not to eat them at the same sitting.
It’s pretty dry now, which causes much coughing. In order to protect our lungs, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choice. Besides, traditional Chinese medicine believes this is a good time for eating porridge as it’s warm and easily digestible.