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Things you may not know about Major Heat

(People's Daily Online)    15:52, July 23, 2019

According to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, a year consists of 24 solar terms. Major Heat or Dashu in Chinese, is the 12th solar term, whose arrival symbolizes that most parts of China have entered the hottest season of the year. In classical Chinese, the character “Shu” was compared to “boiling,” delivering an image that the earth is like a pot of boiling water during this time period.

(Photo/People's Daily Weibo official account)

Three Phenomena of Major Heat

Fireflies Illuminate Summer Nights

Ancient Chinese found that fireflies usually appeared when Dashu began. They believed that fireflies were born out of decayed grass, and would come out to illuminate the sky of summer nights like shining stars.

(Photo/Yangtze Evening News)

Sweltering Summer Weather and Moist Earth

With moist soil, humid air and frequent rainfalls, the crops grow vigorously and forecast a bumper harvest.

Heavy Rains

The coming of Dashu often brings thunderstorms, which ease hot summer weather and lead to the transition to autumn. The unexpected rainfalls can also bring the joy of refreshment and coolness.


Customs of Dashu

(Photo/People's Daily Weibo official account)

Sending away the “Major Heat Ship”

In the coastal Areas in Zhejiang Province, there is a tradition of sending away the "Major Heat ship”. On that day, a group of fishermen take turns to carry the ship while marching through the streets. Drums are played and fireworks are lit. On the street sides, people pray for blessings. After that, the ship is carried to the wharf, pulled out of the port and finally burned at sea. This ritual is to pray for harvests, good weather, happiness and health.

Dry ginger

Summer has the warmest sunshine in a year. However, such extreme heat also produces dried-up delicious foods such as sun dried beans, chili peppers and pickles etc. These ingredients can be eaten after being sundried for a day or two as long as the weather is good. But there's one ingredient that has to be sundried throughout the whole summer, and that is ginger.

During Major Heat, you can always find pieces of ginger enjoying a “sunbath” on the rooftops and terraces in many cities of Hunan Province.


Cricket fighting

A large number of crickets can be found in the fields along the countryside during the “Major Heat” period. Cricket fighting is a popular pastime for people in some regions of China.


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