Limit of Heat
The End of Heat (Chushu) is on August 23 according to the Gregorian calendar this year. Chu in Chinese means to end, and shu means summer or heat. This is a solar term reflecting the change in temperature. From this solar term on, it gets cooler and cooler with each passing day. In most parts of China, the rainy season draws to an end, plants such as rice and broomcorn are getting ready to be harvested, and everything under the sun is moving towards its hibernation phase. There are also a series of folk activities welcoming autumn – the season of harvest.
In northern China, due to the large temperature difference between day and night, people need to put on more clothes in the morning and at night when going out. In southern China, the scene is different: most parts are still undergoing an Indian Summer, and rain is scarce, so local meteorological agencies always choose to shoot artificial rainfall rockets into the sky to relieve high temperatures and droughts, to secure the water supply for the many farms.
At the end of August, dates on the trees turn from green to red. This fruit is a favorite among Chinese people, as they are flavorful as well as easily digestible. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and health-benefiting phytonutrients. Since people believe that autumn is the time when the yin energy grows, dates (listed as a “warm” food as opposed to “cold” one by Traditional Chinese Medicine) are the perfect fruit to eat to stay healthy.
The Zhongyuan Festival is on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar. Like the Qingming Festival (in spring), it’s also a day for people to pay tribute to their ancestors.
On this day, people take fresh dates, grapes, and some other fruits to their ancestors’ tombstones. At night, they place paper lights in the shape of lotus flowers on the river, and by seeing them float away they hope to show the dead how terribly they are missed.
To fishermen living in the coastal areas of China, the time after Chushu is a time to set sail and go fishing. Every year in Zhejiang province, there’s a grand ceremony to celebrate this exciting time. Also, from this time on, you can see a variety of fresh seafood at the market.