White Dew (Bailu) falls on September 7 in the Gregorian calendar this year. Its arrival indicates the real beginning of a cool autumn. The temperature at this time of year declines gradually and the vapors in the air often condense into white dew on the grass and trees at night. However, the summer heat still lingers, which leads to the biggest temperature difference between morning and night of the year. White Dew is a time of mellow fruitfulness.
Cold air masses begin blowing southward, and every night begins to grow cooler. In the morning, when the autumn breeze comes, dew on the flowers and leaves falls to the ground like crystals.
Sweet-scented Osmanthus is in full blossom now, sharing its sweet fragrance throughout the air. The flowers are small and have different colors, ranging from yellowish white to orange. They are both a feast for the eyes and the stomach of Chinese people, as the flowers are often made into tea, wine, and cakes, which are warmly welcomed. Sweet-scented Osmanthus represents sublimity, purity, honor, and good luck in Chinese culture. In ancient China’s imperial examinations, those who got the top score were called zhegui (literally means snapping a branch from the sweet-scented Osmanthus tree). This word is still widely used today.
In Beijing, large sweet-scented Osmanthus trees can be seen in the Summer Palace in potting soil, drawing numerous local visitors to come and admire their beauty.
Birds, sensitive to the change in temperature, are taking actions to cope with it at this time of year. Wild geese and swallows are setting out to fly southward in flocks to pass the winter, while resident birds such as magpies and sparrows stay for winter with their thick feathers to keep them warm.
White Dew comes around the time when the summer vacation ends and students usher in a new school term. In rural China, dates at this time of year turn from green to red and hang heavily on the trees along the roadside. They are sweet, crunchy, and flavorful.
The gorgeous sunny fall days form the prime travelling time across China. Varying by geographical location, autumn sets in earlier in the west part of China. From Xinjiang and Shaanxi in the northwest, to Sichuan in the southwest, tourist spots such as Kanas, Huashan Mountain, and Jiuzhaigou Valley are at their most beautiful. The gorgeous landscape, clear skies, as well as the splendid local culture can give you a memory for life.