The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Start of Summer (Chinese: 立夏) is the 7th solar term of the year.
Start of Summer signals the transition of seasons. On this day, the sun's rays reach an angle of 45 degrees to the earth. The temperature will rise quickly during this period, yet in northern China weather remains mild, not tropical.
Greeting Start of Summer
The term Start of Summer was originated at the end of the Warring States Period (239 BC) . Since it is a crucial time for the harvest of summer crops such as wheat and canola, ancient Chinese emperors in different dynasties attached great importance to the Start of Summer.
In the Zhou Dynasty (1050-221 BC) , the emperor led his officials to stage a welcome rite for the Start of Summer and encouraged his residents to seize the key time to do farm work. It's said that most of the decorations were arranged in the color red, including the emperor and the officials' dress, the jade pendants, the horses and the flags, in order to show respect to the god of summer and pray for a good harvest.
Checking one's weight
The custom of weighing people at the Start of Summer originated from the Three Kingdoms Period (220-180) and prevails in South China today. It was believed this practice would bring health and good luck to the people weighted.
After lunch on the day of Start of Summer, people would suspend a stool or basket from a beam. The young and old took turns to get weighed while the person calculating the weight would offer good wishes and auspicious words. It is said those who were weighed would stay healthy in the hot summer and those who weren't would suffer illness.
As an old Chinese saying goes "hanging an egg on children's chest can prevent them from getting summer diseases", parents will prepare boiled eggs and put them in a knitted bag before hanging them on their child's chest.
When at school, children gather together to play egg competitions by colliding each other's eggs in pairs and the one whose egg is not broken wins.
Special thanks to: China Xinhua News Network Corporation
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