Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Major Heat

By Zhang Wenjie, Xian Jiangnan, Wu Chaolan (People's Daily Online) 09:36, July 23, 2022

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.

Three Phenomena

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.

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.


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.


Eating litchi

On the day of Major Heat, there is the custom of eating litchi in Fujian Province, as a celebration of Major Heat. Litchi is a nutritious fruit containing glucose and vitamins. It is said that eating litchi during Major Heat is like eating ginseng.

Eating grass jelly

In Guangdong, people usually eat grass jelly during Major Heat, which is made with a special grass whose stems and leaves can be made into herb jelly after being dried in the sun. With the magic to quell the summer heat, grass jelly is described in an old saying that "eating herb jelly in Major Heat will make you stay young like the immortals."

Eating mutton soup

There is a custom in Shandong Province where people have mutton soup on the day of Major Heat. Many people will go to local restaurants to have mutton soup, which is called "summer mutton soup."


Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Minor Heat

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Summer Solstice

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Grain in Ear

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Grain Buds

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Start of Summer

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Grain Rain

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Qingming

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Spring Equinox

Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Awakening of Insects

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Sheng Chuyi)


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