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5 things you may not know about Rain Water

来源:China Daily 作者: 2016-02-19 08:46:30

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  The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Rain Water (Chinese:雨水) this year starts on Feb 19 and ends on Mar 5.

  Rain Water signals the increase in rainfall and rise in temperature. With its arrival, lively spring-like scenery starts blossoming: the river water defreezes, wild geese move from south to north, and trees and grass turn green again.

  Here are five things you may not know about Rain Water.

  No.1 Water as precious as oil

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  According to an old Chinese saying, the rainfall in spring is as precious as oil. In northern China, the spring drought is common and the precipitation of this season accounts for only 10 to 15 percent of annual average rainfall.

  Therefore, Rain Water is considered as a key period for irrigation when the day gets warmer and rainfall increases.

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  No.2 Return of cold spell

  Extra care is needed to cope with a returning cold spell in the late spring that often happen during Rain Water period. The fast increase in air humidity due to rainfall can result in lower temperature and wet weather. It is strongly advised not to taka off the thick coats too early and to keep warm, especially elderly and children.

  One of the main customs during Rain Water is husbands visiting their in-laws and giving gifts.[File photo]

  No.3 Visit to in-laws

  One of the main customs during Rain Water is husbands visiting their in-laws and giving gifts. According to the tradition, gifts are usually two cane chairs winded with four meters of red belt, which symbolizes good health and longevity. Another typical gift is a pot of cooked dish that contains pig’s knuckles stewed with soya and kelp, by which the son-in-law expresses his respect and gratitude.

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  No.4 Finding godfather

  Another old custom is to find a godfather for little kids. Rainfall brings vitality to the earth; therefore people in the past believed that this practice would give their kids healthy and safe growth.

  The custom can be traced back to the health services of the past when many children’s diseases could not be cured at all. Therefore, parents wanted a godfather to shower their blessings and good luck on their children. This old practice was popular in Sichuan area.


  No.5 Nutritious porridge

  The wet and damp weather during Rain Water period is considered harmful for people’s spleen and stomach according to Chinese medical practice. Therefore, a bowl of nutritious porridge is the best choice to nourish the body.

  People in Beijing often eat porridge cooked with rehmannia glutinosa libosch, a kind of Chinese herb medicine, to resist cold and wet weather and eliminate heat from the blood. It is also good for people with constipation, arthritis and headaches.

  The 24 solar terms are determined by changes in the sun’s position in the zodiac during the year. They were first used in China and now are followed in many other parts of the world. In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. They also reflect China’s rich history through the seasonal festivals, special foods, cultural ceremonies, family gatherings and even healthy living tips that correspond with each solar term.

 Here is a peek into the 24 terms in 2015.

Solar Terms



Start of Spring (立春)

Feb. 4

Spring begins.

Rain Water (雨水)


It begins to rain.

Awakening of Insects(惊蛰)

Mar. 6

Hibernating animals awaken.

Spring Equinox(春分)


Day and night are equally long.

Clear and Bright (清明)

Apr. 5

It is warm and bright.

Grain Rain (谷雨)

Apr. 20

Rainfall increases for grain to grow.

Start of Summer(立夏)

May 6

Summer begins.

Grain Buds(小满)

May 21

Seeds of summer crops begin to plump.

Grain in Ear (芒种)

Jun. 6

Wheat grows ripe.

Summer Solstice (夏至)

Jun. 22

The longest daylight hours and the shortest night of the year.

Minor Heat (小暑)

Jul. 7

Heat sets in.

Major Heat (大暑)

Jul. 23

The hottest time of the of a year begins.

Start of Autumn (立秋)

Aug 8

Autumn begins.

End of Heat (处暑)

Aug 23

Heat recedes.

White Dew (白露)

Sep. 8

Dew forms.

Autumn Equinox (秋分)

Sep. 23

The middle of autumn comes.

Cold Dew (寒露)

Oct. 8

Dew is very cold.

Frost's Descent (霜降)

Oct. 24

Frost descends.

Start of Winter (立冬)

Nov. 8

Winter begins.

Minor Snow (小雪)

Nov. 22

It begins to snow.

Major Snow (大雪)

Dec. 7

It snows heavily.

Winter Solstice (冬至)

Dec. 22

It has the shortest daylight hours  and the longest night of a year.

Minor Cold (小寒)

Jan 6

It is rather cold.

Major Cold (大寒)

Jan 20

The coldest time of the year begins.


Keywords:culture,old Chinese saying, rainfall

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