Start of Autumn
The Start of Autumn (Liqiu) falls between August 7 and 9 according to the Gregorian calendar. Qiu (autumn) is a season for harvesting across the country. Liqiu is the first solar term of autumn, around which the summer heat still lingers, so it’s better seen as a transition from summer to autumn. There are still a few days ahead before the real cool autumn comes. According to meteorological standards, if the average temperature of a certain place, for five consecutive days, is between 10oC and 22oC, then it can be declared that autumn has arrived.
After the Start of Autumn, both the morning and night start to get cool, but it’s still hot during the day. The last period of the hottest days in a year comes after the Start of Autumn. In China, there is a farmer’s proverb which says: after the Start of Autumn, a cow can still be burnt to death. People call unseasonably warm weather occurring after the Start of Autumn Qiu Laohu (literally meaning “Autumn Tiger” in Chinese, it is the same as “an Indian Summer,” the only difference being that Chinese people don’t enjoy the extended hot spell). During an Indian Summer, most parts of China are still pretty hot and crops grow vigorously.
During this time of year, peaches are ripe, hanging heavily in trees, ready to be picked. Although your mouth might be watering, don’t forget to wash them over and over again as the hair on its skin will make your hand itchy!
Around the Start of Autumn, China’s most romantic festival of the year, the Qixi Festival, arrives.
Have you heard of the heart-breaking love story of Niulang (a cowherd) and Zhinü (a fairy maiden who is a weaver girl of the Heavenly Mother Queen), two lovers whose love was disapproved and were then separated by the Silver River (symbolizing the Milky Way) in Chinese mythology? Their tragic romance touched a flock of magpies, who decided to form a bridge every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month for them to reunite. This is how Qixi, the Double Seventh Festival, came into being. Overtime, this day has become China’s version of Valentine’s Day with millions of young people celebrating it every year.
The hot summer often causes people to lose their appetites; as a result, many people lose weight during the hot season. When autumn comes, as the coolness sets in; people normally take this opportunity to eat more in order to supplement what they lost during the summer. Many people in China prefer to eat hotpot with all kinds of meat, which is nicknamed, “gaining some autumn fat.”