Lai Chi Wow! EP2: The Twenty-four Solar Terms Lai Chi Wow! EP2: The Twenty-four Solar Terms Lai Chi Wow! EP2: The Twenty-four Solar Terms
Lai Chi Wow! EP2: The Twenty-four Solar Terms
Lai Chi Wo and the Solar Terms Song
Lai Chi Wo used to be a farming Hakka village. The yield of crops directly affected the quality of life of the villagers. Bad weather leads to bad harvest. Without an observatory, farmers were not informed about the weather changes. After years of farming and observing, farmers discovered the pattern of seasons and weather changes. Combining their observations with the routines of the sun and moon, farmers divided a year into twenty-four equal periods, the twenty-four solar terms were created. The solar terms also guided farmers in Lai Chi Wo, crops thrived, animals live happily in Lai Chi Wo.
Zuni created a song about the twenty-four solar terms, let’s sing together!
The twenty-four solar terms can be categorized into four types: (I) stating the change of seasons, Spring Commences, Vernal Equinox, SummerCommences, SummerSolstice, AutumnCommences, AutumnalEquinox, WinterCommences and WinterSolstice; (II) related to temperature, ModerateHeat, GreatHeat,
EndofHeat, ModerateCold, SevereCold; (III) reveal raining pattern, Corn Rain, WhiteDew, ColdDew, Frost, LightSnow and HeavySnow; (IV) those closely affect farming activities, InsectsWaken, BrightandClear, CornForms and CornonEar. Although the solar terms are traditional Chinese wisdom, they do not refer to the traditional lunar calendar, but are based on the solar calendar.
The Change of Seasons and Temperature
The Change of Seasons
Spring Commences, SummerCommences, AutumnCommences and WinterCommences state the begin of seasons each February, May, August and November respectively. Vernal Equinox, SummerSolstice, AutumnalEquinox and WinterSolstice are related to the angle where the Sun shines on the Earth. SummerSolstice and WinterSolstice are days with the longest and shortest period of daylight respectively, while the periods of day and night are almost equal on Vernal Equinox and AutumnalEquinox.
The solar terms related to temperature are the easiest to understand. GreatHeat is the hottest day in a year when warm-season crops thrive. EndofHeat marks the end of Summer heat while SevereCold is the coldest day in a year. Temperature is closely related to farming activity.
Raining Patterns and Farming Activities
Spring Showers and Frost
SpringShowers is the first rain-related solar term in a year. In the beginning of Spring, the weather gets warmer and it rains more frequent which allows the soil to become moist. Frost is the last solar term in Autumn, reveals that the weather is getting cold and there may be frost (ground temperature decreases rapidly to below zero) and crops may be harmed. However, farmers can still farm Autumn crops in warmer Southern areas like Hong Kong.
InsectsWaken is on the 5th or 6th of March each year. Temperature becomes warm and hibernating animals waken gradually. The warm weather also makes this day suitable for Spring sowing.
You can see different stages of rice growth in different times of the year in Lai Chi Wo.
Bright and Clear, Corn Forms and Corn on Ear
Not only is it a day the Chinese worship ancestors, it is also one of the twenty-four solar terms. A Chinese poem goes, “A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;The mourner’s heart is breaking on his way.”. Nevertheless, Bright and Clear is also a day of life and growth. Seed stocks bud and animals are born. Farmers are busy with Spring sowing on this day.
Summer crops such as rice have come into ear but yet to be mature. This period is marked by CornForms. When it comes the day CornonEar, cereal crops like barley, wheat and oat are ready to reap!
After getting to know the twenty-four solar terms, go have a look at the crops and chat with the farmers in Lai Chi Wo!