Summer Solstice

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Summer Solstice

This is the 10th solar term. On this day, the sun beats down on the most northern point it could reach on earth. It shines almost directly on the Tropic of Cancer, and in the northern hemisphere the days are at their longest. After the Summer Solstice, hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere get shorter with each passing day. In many parts of China, people eat noodles on this day.

Around the Summer Solstice, in most parts of China temperatures are pretty high and there is abundant sunshine. Crops grow fast and they are in urgent need of water. At this time, rainfall plays an important role in agricultural yields. People normally say rain at this time is “as valuable as gold.” Usually the rainfall in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the area between the Yellow River and the Huaihe River can meet the demand of crops. After the Summer Solstice, thunderstorms often occur in the afternoons due to crosswinds. This kind of rain comes and goes quickly.

After the Summer Solstice, China enters a period of hot summer days (“dog days”) that lasts for over a month. In the north, the temperatures are high, there is plenty of sunshine, and rainfall keeps increasing. As crops grow vigorously, weeds and pests multiply, giving farmers the urgent task of eradicating weeds and using moderate pesticides to deal with pests.

Around the Summer Solstice, rainstorms frequent the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the Yangtze-Huaihe river basins. There are frequent floods, posing a serious threat to people’s lives, property and safety. Therefore, great attention should be paid to flood prevention.

Apricots and pomegranates are in season at this time. Apricots are yellow and alluring, they can also be dried or made into preserves. Pomegranate flowers are red, the luckiest color in China.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is the time when the yang energy in the human body reaches its utmost, therefore, people need to protect this energy and prevent their bodies from getting sunstroke. With the approach of hot summer days, great attention should be paid to our diet. We need to change to a menu designed for hot summer, or we might suffer from imbalance of nutrition.

Chinese people traditionally eat dumplings on the day of the Winter Solstice while eating noodles on the day of the Summer Solstice. Cold noodles with sesame sauce and sliced cucumber adds coolness on a hot day, and drinking some sweet mung bean soup is very refreshing!

The hot summer weather might make people a bit distracted during the day. Well, our ancestors have given us some good advice: “As long as you maintain inner peace, you won’t feel the heat too much.”

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