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China's 24 solar terms: Guyu (2)

By Zhang Peng (People's Daily Online)    16:50, April 19, 2019


Offering sacrifices to the god of the ocean

The Grain Rain festival is celebrated in fishing villages across the coastal areas of northern China. Grain Rain marks the start of the fishermen’s first voyage of the year. The custom dates back more than 2,000 years, when people believed they owed a good yield to the gods, who protected them from stormy seas. People would worship the sea and make sacrifices during the Grain Rain festival, praying for a bountiful harvest and the safe return of loved ones.


Appreciating the peony

Guyu also sees the bloom of the peony, which is known as the "Queen of All Flowers" in Chinese culture. As a result, many people go out to admire the local peonies. In Shandong, Henan and Sichuan, there are even festivals to appreciate the beauty of the peony when Guyu falls.

Dislodging five poisonous creatures

As the temperature gets warmer after Grain Rain, worms and insects awaken from their winter slumber and begin to breed. At this time of year, farmers need to take measures to protect their crops and themselves. One custom is to prepare Grain Rain posts and pray to the Chinese gods for a good harvest.

The Grain Rain post is a typical Chinese New Year picture. In the middle of the picture, there is a rooster with a scorpion under its claw, or an image of “Tianshi” dislodging five poisonous creatures (scorpion, viper, centipede, house lizard and toad). The posts reflect the ancient Chinese desire to remove harmful animals from their surroundings and pray for a good harvest. 


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(Web editor: Wen Ying, Du Mingming)

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