Introduction on Chinese 24 Solar Terms – Spring Solar Terms

//Introduction on Chinese 24 Solar Terms – Spring Solar Terms


Spring is a colorful season. Spring is bright and beautiful, the spring breeze is blowing, the flowers is blooming, everything is awakened. Next, let us take a look at the solar terms and customs in spring!

1.立春 lì chūn Beginning of Spring

Lichun is the first solar term in the twenty-four solar terms in China. “Li” means “beginning”, and it signifies that the cold winter has passed. Since spring, everything has become alive, and the four seasons of the year have also begun. There is a custom of eating spring cakes in Lichun, which is called “bite spring”. It originated in the Tang Dynasty. All kinds of vegetables sprout at the beginning of spring, people wrap colorful seasonal vegetables in dough, roll them into rolls, steam or deep-fried them and call them spring cakes, which means welcoming the spring and praying for a good harvest.

2.雨水 yǔshuǐ Rain Water

During the Rain water, the temperature rises, the ice and snow melt, and the precipitation increases. Rain water is like Grain Rain, Light snow, and Heavy snow, they are all solar terms that reflect the phenomenon of precipitation. At this time, the cold winter in most parts of China has passed, and the warmer temperature is conducive to the greening or growth of crops. Therefore, it is necessary to pay close attention to the field management of overwintering crops, and make preparations for spring ploughing and planting, so as to realize ” Plant one millet and harvest tens of thousands of seeds in autumn “.

3.驚蟄 jīng zhé Insects Awakening

“Zhe” means “insects”. When the temperature rises, the insects wake up gradually. People usually repel the insects during this period. Hong Kong and Macau also have the custom of “beating the villains”. According to the legend, the white tiger is the God of the tongue. He will come out to search for food every year. If people offend him, they will be disturbed by evil villains during the year, which will hinder the development of the future and cause all kinds of troubles. Therefore, everyone has to buy paper stocks containing paper tigers, lucky papers, villain papers, etc. to “Beating the villain”.

4.春分 chūn fēn  Vernal Equinox

The meaning of the Vernal equinox is twofold. One is that the day is divided equally between day and night; the other is that in ancient times, spring was from beginning of spring to beginning of summer. The vernal equinox is in the middle of the three months of spring, and spring is equally divided. On the day of the vernal equinox, there is a folk custom of Li Dan (standing eggs). It is said that this custom has existed about 4000 years ago. On the spring equinox, it is neither cold nor hot, and nature is full of vitality. “Li Dan” means “more kids”, and people pray for more kids through the standing egg.

5.清明 qīng míng  Fresh Green

Fresh green is not only a solar term, but also a festival. Fresh green of the solar terms is a great time for spring plowing and planting; Fresh green of the festival is a traditional day for people to miss their dead relatives and friends and to comfort themselves. According to the traditional custom, when sweeping tombs, people have to bring wine, food, fruits, paper money and other items to the cemetery, and then offer food in front of the relatives’ tomb.Paper money is incinerated, new soil is also cultivated for the tomb. Some people fold a few verdant willow branches and insert them on the grave, then bow their heads to pay homage, and finally eat the food or drink or pack up the offerings and go back home.

6.穀雨 gǔ yǔ Grain Rain

Grain rain is the last solar term of Spring. Grain rain means that grains can only grow under rain. There is a saying in the north that “spring rain is as expensive as oil”. During the Grain rain, crops need rainwater the most, and the increase of rainfall is beneficial to the growth of crops. According to folklore, drinking grain rain tea can clear internal heat, ward off evil spirits and improve eyesight. Therefore, the southern regions have the habit of picking tea in grain rain. On this day, whether it is sunny or cloudy or rainy, people must go to the tea mountain to pick some new tea and drink grain rain tea, not only for refreshing the brain and eyesight, but also to pray for good health and longevity.

[4] All pictures of spring solar terms (author: Shao Luyun) are from: