What Day Is The Beginning Of Autumn/Liqiu?-13th solar term

“Liqiu” is an important solar term in traditional Chinese culture and the first solar term of the autumn season. It marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, serving as a turning point when temperatures gradually decrease and the weather becomes cooler, accompanied by the onset of autumn breezes.

what is the beginning of autumn?

“Liqiu” is the thirteenth of the twenty-four solar terms, marking the first solar term of the autumn season. It signifies the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. The handle of the Big Dipper points to the southwest, and autumn begins when the sun reaches 135 degrees of the celestial longitude. However, from a climatic perspective, many places have not yet met the criteria for the arrival of autumn; it is not truly autumn yet. The definition of the arrival of autumn is based on climatology, where it is considered to be in autumn when the daily average temperature remains consistently below 22°C for five consecutive days. Furthermore, due to varying climatic conditions each year, the timing of the arrival of autumn can differ significantly, with differences of up to two or three weeks.

what date is the beginning of autumn?

when is the beginning of autumn?The beginning of autumn, also known as the autumnal equinox, typically occurs around August 7-9 in the Northern Hemisphere. This date varies slightly from year to year due to the Earth’s orbit and the tilt of its axis.

what month is the beginning of autumn?

“Liqiu” is a significant solar term among the twenty-four solar terms, usually falling between August 7th and 9th on the Gregorian calendar. The arrival of this solar term signals the impending end of summer and the beginning of autumn. In China, “Liqiu” holds a rich history and cultural significance.

On the day of “Liqiu,” the handle of the Big Dipper points to the southwest, which is a key indicator of the solar term. Additionally, the moment when the sun reaches 135 degrees of the celestial longitude is also considered the start of “Liqiu.” Celestial longitude refers to the sun’s position on the ecliptic, which is the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

history beginning of autumn

In ancient times, “Liqiu” held significant importance as a festival for ceremonies and divinations. During this period, people would conduct ancestral rituals, hang mugwort leaves, partake in autumn meals, and indulge in autumn wine to express respect and remembrance for their ancestors. As history evolved, the customs associated with Liqiu continued to develop and flourish, gradually becoming a traditional season reflecting the changing times.

The historical origins of Liqiu can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn period, during which its customs were already established. Over time, these customs grew and expanded. During the Sui Dynasty, it became a national holiday; in the Song Dynasty, it evolved not only into a national festival but also acquired religious significance. By the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it transformed into both a religious and folk tradition. Today, Liqiu remains an important cultural festival.

The inception and development of Liqiu were grounded in the observation and understanding of celestial phenomena. The establishment of seasonal divisions required keen observations of astronomical patterns. Early humans primarily focused on observing the movements of the sun and moon, coupled with various misunderstandings and superstitions.

In the late Spring and Autumn period, Zuozhuan attributed observations to historical figures, indicating that celestial observation dates back to the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors era. This practice continued over generations, leading to the formulation of the initial four solar terms during the Shang Dynasty: Mid-Spring, Mid-Summer, Mid-Autumn, and Mid-Winter. The Book of Documents records these terms, indicating the position of the sun and stars in the sky to define the solar terms.

During the Zhou Dynasty, the number of solar terms expanded from four to eight, adding four more: Beginning of Spring, Mid-Spring, Beginning of Summer, Mid-Summer, Beginning of Autumn, Mid-Autumn, Beginning of Winter, and Mid-Winter. This marked the earliest appearance of Liqiu during the Zhou Dynasty. Over time, observations continued to refine, and solar terms were documented in books like the “Yi Zhou Shu” and “Yi Zhou Shi.”

By the Han Dynasty, Confucian scholar Dai Sheng summarized solar terms and natural phenomena in the “Li Ji,” providing insights into the progression of the solar terms and associated changes. Further refinement occurred during the Han Dynasty, culminating in a comprehensive list of the twenty-four solar terms, as documented in the “Huainanzi.”

The inception of Liqiu dates back to the Shang Dynasty, was established during the Zhou Dynasty, refined during the Spring and Autumn period, and definitively defined and transmitted during the Han Dynasty.

“Liqiu,” one of the “Four Standing Points,” signifies the beginning of autumn and the onset of the harvest season when crops start to ripen. The ancient calendar states, “When the handle of the Big Dipper points to the southwest, it is Liqiu. Yin qi emerges, and life begins to wither; this is the season of ripening grains.” The “Shuowen Jiezi” defines autumn as the season when grains mature. The natural changes unfold progressively, with Liqiu representing the transition from yang to yin as summer’s yang energy gradually wanes.

Among the twenty-four solar terms, there are “Three Heatings” comprising Minor Heat, Major Heat, and End of Heat, which sequentially represent early, mid, and late summer. The “Three Heatings” are interspersed with the “Liqiu” solar term. After Liqiu comes the End of Heat, which together with the “Three Heatings” and the “Three Fu,” represents a period of high temperatures. This extended heat is favorable for crop growth and yield as crops require sufficient time and warmth to develop fully. The twenty-four solar terms are products of ancient agricultural civilization and reflect the agricultural culture’s understanding of seasonal changes.

Liqiu marks the formal beginning of the second solar term of autumn, immediately following Major Heat and Minor Heat. The weather remains hot after Liqiu, and Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to the period between Liqiu and the Autumnal Equinox as “Long Summer.” After Liqiu, the balance of yin and yang energy in nature starts to shift, with all things following the decline of yang energy, moving from vigorous growth toward maturity. In ancient Chinese agrarian society, Liqiu held significant importance. People conducted rituals to honor the land and celebrate the impending harvest during this time.

beginning of autumn season division

● Solar Term Method: The traditional division of the four seasons is based on the “Four Solar Terms” among the twenty-four solar terms. Therefore, autumn begins with the solar term “Liqiu.” When the handle of the Big Dipper points to the southwest and the sun reaches 135 degrees of the celestial longitude, it marks the beginning of autumn. The autumn season extends from Liqiu to the period just before Lidong. Liqiu signifies the gradual decline of yang energy, the increase of yin energy, and the transition of all things from abundant growth to maturation, heralding the season of harvest.

● Temperature Method: Nowadays, the division of the four seasons is often based on changes in temperature, using the “houpinyin average temperature” method proposed by modern scholar Zhang Baokun. According to this method, if the daily average temperature remains between 10°C and 22°C for five consecutive days, it is considered the beginning of autumn. The temperature-based division of autumn indicates a cool and refreshing climate.

beginning of autumn Meteorological changes

Liqiu does not mark the end of hot weather; it is followed by another solar term called “Chushu” which signifies the end of hot weather. The heat continues even after Liqiu, and it is only with the arrival of the second autumnal solar term, Chushu, that the hot summer weather starts to subside. During the early autumn, the weather remains quite hot. This period is often referred to as the “Three Fu,” which encompasses the solar terms Xiaoshu, Dashu, and Chushu, including both Liqiu and Chushu. The “Three Fu Days” occur in July and August when the subtropical high-pressure system dominates most of eastern China, leading to clear and hot conditions. This makes the “Three Fu Days” the hottest period of the year. From a climatic perspective, the sun still shines strongly during early autumn, and many regions remain in the grip of summer heat. Among the twenty-four solar terms, Liqiu is the third hottest, after Dashu and Xiaoshu.

Entering the autumn season implies changes in rainfall and humidity, leading to a transition toward reduced levels. The shift of seasons is particularly evident in the southern regions through changes in rainfall and humidity, while in the northern regions, the most noticeable change is the drop in temperature. As autumn progresses, the yin and yang energies shift, and nature transitions from lush growth to a more withered maturity. The climate moves from the rainy and humid conditions of summer to the drier and less rainy weather of autumn. Liqiu marks the beginning of this seasonal shift, but it does not immediately bring a significant drop in temperature. The latter half of the “Three Fu Days” extends beyond Liqiu.

The boundary between hot and cool weather is not reached immediately with the Liqiu solar term; a true sense of coolness usually arrives after the Bai Lu solar term. Even after Liqiu, a phenomenon known as the “Autumn Tiger” can occur. The “Autumn Tiger” typically takes place from late August to September, often spanning half a month after Chushu. However, the occurrence of the “Autumn Tiger” is not consistent every year. Meteorological data suggests that this hot weather pattern can persist until the middle or later part of September before gradually cooling down.

The current division of seasons is often based on the “houpinyin average temperature” method, where the onset of autumn is determined by five consecutive days with an average temperature ranging between 10°C and 22°C. According to this temperature-based method, the latter half of the year sees the daily average temperature stabilizing and dropping below 22°C to mark the beginning of autumn. Apart from areas with continuous winter or connected spring and autumn without summer, it is rare in China to have regions where the “houpinyin average temperature” criteria (five consecutive days with average temperature between 10°C and 22°C) are met right at “Liqiu.”

beginning of autumn phenological phenomenon

In ancient Chinese literature, the Liqiu solar term is divided into three sub-periods: the first sub-period is when cool winds arrive, the second sub-period is the emergence of white dew, and the third sub-period is the chirping of cold cicadas. This division signifies that after Liqiu, people can feel a coolness in the wind, which is different from the hot winds of summer. Following this, the earth experiences morning mist, and the cold cicadas of autumn begin to chirp. In reality, during the period from Liqiu to Chushu, which is known as the “Three Fu Days,” most parts of China remain in a hot and humid climate. During these “Three Fu Days,” the phenomena of “cool winds,” “white dew,” and “chirping of cold cicadas” are not commonly observed. According to the sequence of the twenty-four solar terms, the Chushu solar term follows Liqiu, and “Chushu” signifies the end of hot weather. Thus, the true transition from hot to cooler weather occurs after Liqiu.

The saying “heat persists during the Three Fu Days” involves the solar terms Xiaoshu, Dashu, Liqiu, and Chushu, encompassing a period of the highest and most humid heat in the year. China’s vast geographical diversity results in varying climates across regions, but in most places, Liqiu is still characterized by hot weather, with intense daytime sunlight. The “End of Fu Days” of the three hottest periods each year generally fall between the first and second Geng days after Liqiu. Chinese medicine also refers to the period from Liqiu to the autumnal equinox as the “long summer.” Despite the continued heat after Liqiu, a transformation in the balance of yin and yang energies begins in nature, and all living things start transitioning from lush growth to matured withering.

beginning of autumn traditional custom

Liqiu, along with Lichun (Beginning of Spring), Lixia (Beginning of Summer), and Lidong (Beginning of Winter), collectively known as the “Four Beginnings,” is one of the eight traditional solar terms in ancient China. During Liqiu, there is a customary practice of worshipping the Earth God to celebrate the harvest. In ancient times, after the harvest in Liqiu, a propitious date was chosen to express gratitude to the heavens and ancestors for their blessings, while also indulging in the new harvest by feasting, commemorating the hard-earned yields. Additionally, various customs such as “taping autumn fat,” “biting autumn,” and “gnawing autumn” are observed on this day.

Taping Autumn Fat:

On this day, people enjoy rich and flavorful dishes like stewed meat to compensate for the loss of appetite during the hot summer months. The cool breeze of approaching autumn signals an increased craving for heartier and more nutritious meals.

Biting Autumn:

Families gather to eat watermelon, a practice believed to prevent diarrhea during the winter and coming spring. Eating watermelon on this day is known as “biting autumn.”

Autumn Festival (Qiusha):

Originating in the Han Dynasty, this festival involves offering sacrifices to the Earth God and expressing gratitude for the harvest. Both official ceremonies and local customs commemorate this occasion.

Hangzhou: Eating Autumn Peaches:

In regions like Hangzhou, it is customary to eat autumn peaches on the day of Liqiu. People believe that consuming these peaches will protect them from plague throughout the year.

Tianjin: “Biting Autumn”:

Eating fruits like watermelon is thought to prevent digestive issues during the autumn. This practice is known as “biting autumn.”

Sichuan: Drinking “Liqiu Water” and Eating “Cool Porridge”:

In eastern and western Sichuan, people drink “Liqiu water” and consume “cool porridge” made from high-quality glutinous rice. This tradition symbolizes the transition from summer to autumn and wishes for favorable weather and abundant harvests.

Shandong: Eating “Zha”:

In Shandong’s Laixi region, people consume a dish called “zha,” which is made from mung bean and vegetables. It is believed to prevent diarrhea.

Sun-Drying Autumn Crops:

In various regions, sun-drying crops like grains and vegetables has become a traditional practice due to the lack of flat ground for drying. This custom is particularly prevalent in hilly areas.

Worship of the Earth God:

Autumn, being the harvest season, is a time for worshipping the Earth God and celebrating the bountiful yield.

Weighing Water:

People used to weigh containers of water before and after Liqiu to predict the amount of rainfall for the upcoming season.

Eating “Zha”:

In Shandong and Sichuan, the tradition of eating “zha,” a dish made from mung beans and vegetables, is believed to prevent digestive issues.

Touching Autumn:

On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, women who have not yet given birth go to the fields to secretly touch melons and beans, believed to determine the gender of their future child.

Eating “Fu Yuan” (Longan):

The harvest season for longan coincides with Liqiu, and eating longan fruit is believed to bring blessings and success.

Eating Eggs:

In some regions, people consume eggs on Liqiu for their nourishing properties and to maintain well-being.

Prayers and Festivals:

Various regions host autumn festivals, pray for auspicious outcomes, and engage in activities to ensure good fortune and prosperity.

Throughout rural China, Liqiu is associated with diverse customs, including predicting weather changes, sampling new crops like watermelon and string beans, ancestral offerings, and other cultural observances.

The ancient people attached great importance to the beginning of autumn

In ancient times, the significance of Liqiu was primarily due to the upcoming harvest in agriculture. The prosperity of agriculture held immense importance, not only for the fate of common people but sometimes even for the destiny of a dynasty or an ancient nation. Therefore, it is not surprising that Liqiu was highly regarded in ancient times. The “Classic of History” (Shangshu Dazhuan) states:

“All things do not harvest without autumn.”

In ancient times, when a country experienced famine, others might take advantage of the situation. For instance, the historian Sima Qian recorded an incident in his “Records of the Grand Historian” (Shi Ji):

“In the fourteenth year, Qin suffered from famine and requested grain from Jin. The officials of Jin consulted among themselves. Guo She said, ‘Exploit their hunger and attack them; there could be great achievements.’ The ruler of Jin agreed. In the fifteenth year, Jin raised troops to attack Qin.”

This passage recounts how in the fourteenth year of Duke Mu of Qin’s reign, Qin suffered a severe famine and sought grain aid from Jin. Guo She, the maternal uncle of Duke Hui of Jin, suggested using this opportunity to attack the weakened Qin. Duke Hui agreed and raised an army in the following year. The details of this event are intricate, but our focus here is on the agricultural importance of ancient times. Agriculture held such significance that even if something went wrong on this day, self-critique or introspection would follow.

In the “Book of Zhou” (Zhoushu) under the section “Lessons of the Times” (Shixun), it is documented:

“On the day of Liqiu, if the cool breeze does not arrive, the state lacks strict governance.”

This statement suggests that if the cool breeze doesn’t come on this day, there might be governance issues in the court. The meticulous observations of ancient people are indeed remarkable. Many of our modern proverbs and sayings regarding lunar phases, planting, and autumn harvests stem from the accumulated wisdom of people in ancient times.

In the “Illustrated Records of Seasonal Customs” (Yueli Zhantupu), it is documented:

“Upon the arrival of the cool wind in the southwest on the day of Liqiu, yellow clouds resemble a flock of sheep, and it is suitable for chestnut crops. If clear skies and wind do not arrive, all things will not flourish. A yellow cloud aura appears above the southwest, signifying positive energy. With the onset of Liqiu’s proper timing, all things prosper. Red energy emerges from the right side, and all things are halfway to maturity. On the day of Liqiu, at noon when the shadow is cast vertically, it measures four feet, five inches, and two and a half finger widths. The five grains ripen.”

From these records, it is evident that these descriptions are closely tied to planting and harvest. Once again, this emphasizes the ancient people’s focus on seasonal customs as a reflection of their importance to agriculture. With such significance attributed to these practices, corresponding customs naturally developed.

The Customs of the Beginning of Autumn in Ancient China

In ancient China, the day of Liqiu was marked by various customs and ceremonies. In the “Book of the Later Han” (Hou Hanshu) under the section on rituals, it is mentioned:

“On the day of Liqiu, welcome autumn at the Western Suburb. Perform sacrifices to the White Emperor and the Harvest Deity.”

The White Emperor referred to here is Shao Hao, known as the deity of autumn. On the day of Liqiu, ceremonies were conducted to worship Shao Hao. According to Dai Sheng, a scholar of the Western Han dynasty, in the “Book of Rites” (Liji) section on monthly ordinances:

“On the day of Liqiu, the emperor personally leads the Three Dukes, the Nine Ministers, feudal lords, and high officials to welcome autumn at the Western Suburb.”

It is clear that the ancient people attached great importance to this day. The emperor, accompanied by his officials, personally went to the Western Suburb to welcome the arrival of autumn. But was this merely a gesture of welcome? Of course not. It was a way of prayer, seeking good harvests from the heavens, reflecting the people’s earnest desire for a bountiful yield.

Naturally, when the upper class emphasizes something, the influence trickles down. Since the court held grand rituals, the common people naturally engaged in exuberant celebrations. During the Song dynasty, Meng Yuanlao recorded in “Dreams of Splendors in the Eastern Capital” (Dongjing Menghua Lu):

“On the day of Liqiu, the streets are filled with the sale of catalpa leaves. Women and children cut them into various shapes and wear them as decorations. During this month, melons, fruits, pears, and jujubes are abundant. Beijing’s jujubes come in several varieties: Lingzao, Yazao, Qingzhou jujube, and Bozhou jujube. When Ji Tou jujubes are in the market, the most abundant supply is from Li He’s household in Liangmen. Among the noble families, jujubes are acquired in bulk and sold. The interior is crammed with wealth, gold, and silver; scholars and commoners buy them. A bundle sells for ten coins, wrapped in small, fresh lotus leaves, scented with musk, tied with small red strings. Despite the many sellers, none can match Li He’s delicate silver-skinned jujubes.”

The festive atmosphere described here rivals that of any other festival. By the Ming dynasty, these customs continued to be cherished by the common people. In the fifth year of the Jiajing reign, the scholar and Jinshi degree holder Tian Rucheng wrote in “Records of West Lake Sights” (Xihu Youlan Zhi):

“On the day of Liqiu, both men and women don catalpa leaves, in harmony with the season. Some craftily carve petals from red Photinia leaves and insert them into their hair. Others swallow seven red adzuki beans with autumn water.”

“Records of West Lake Sights” documents local folklore and anecdotes related to West Lake, offering insights not present in official historical records. Though not as solemn as official history, it plays an important role in studying local history.

beginning of autumn story

Origin of Lichun Folklore Story One: Autumn Deity Chenshou

In ancient legends, the autumn deity is known as Chenshou. He is depicted with a snake coiled around his left ear and a massive axe resting on his right shoulder. According to the Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shan Hai Jing), he resides in the Boshan region, where he can witness the setting sun. The snake on his ear symbolizes the propagation of offspring, representing continuous growth and vitality. The Book of Songs (Shi Jing) states: “A snake is an auspicious sign of a female.” Dreaming of a snake is believed to foretell the birth of a beautiful daughter.

The colossal axe on Chenshou’s shoulder signifies his role as a deity of punishment. In ancient times, executions were often carried out after Liqiu, known as “Autumn’s Execution.” The autumn season is associated with a sense of foreboding. “Alas, the aura of autumn, desolate and chilling, with falling leaves and waning plants.” Therefore, with the arrival of Chenshou, a sense of coolness pervades the air.

Origin of Lichun Folklore Story Two: One Leaf Knows Autumn

Recorded in the “Records of the Lamp Transmission” (Wudeng Huiyuan), it is said that during a gathering on Mount Lingshan, the Buddha held up a flower to the assembly. At that moment, everyone remained silent except for venerable Kashyapa, who broke into a smile. The Buddha then transmitted his robe and alms bowl to Kashyapa. The small peach pit is linked to a major epidemic, where one falling leaf signifies the arrival of autumn throughout the world. Mahakasyapa, by discerning the profound Dharma within the single golden lotus flower held up by the Buddha, comprehended the universal law that encompasses all things. Seeing the profound in the ordinary and perceiving the subtle is a form of great wisdom. It can only be intuited and not easily conveyed in words.

beginning of autumn Agricultural activities

Meaning of “Autumn” and Its Agricultural Significance:

The term “秋” (qiū) in Chinese refers to the season of autumn when crops are approaching maturity. Starting from Lichun, the solar term marking the beginning of autumn, the yang energy gradually recedes, and all living things begin to conserve energy and transition from vigorous growth to maturation and fruition. The 24 solar terms reflect the changes in the “qi” (energy) of each season. Lichun marks the shift from the dominance of yang energy to the increasing influence of yin energy. The “Er Ya” states, “秋为收成” (qiū wéi shōu chéng), which translates to “autumn is the time of harvest.” The “Yue Ling Qi Er Shi Er Hou Ji Jie” explains, “秋,揪也,物于此而揪敛也” (qiū, jiū yě, wù yú cǐ ér jiū liǎn yě), suggesting that autumn is the time for gathering and collecting. The “Shuo Wen Jie Zi” provides the interpretation “秋,禾谷熟也” (qiū, hé gǔ shú yě), indicating that autumn is the season when crops like grains and cereals become ripe and ready for harvest.

Following autumn, there is a period known as “yifu” (一伏), which occurs around the time of Lichun. In most parts of China, the temperature remains relatively high during this time, and various crops continue to grow vigorously. Paddy rice begins to flower and set grains, single-crop rice grows tall, soybeans form pods, corn tassels emerge and silk, cotton bolls develop, and sweet potatoes rapidly increase in size. These crops have urgent water requirements, and any drought during this period can cause irreparable damage to the final harvest. This is why there are sayings like “立秋三场雨,秕稻变成米” (Lìqiū sān chǎng yǔ, bǐ dào biàn chéng mǐ) and “立秋雨淋淋,遍地是黄金” (Lìqiū yǔ línlín, biàn dì shì huángjīn), which emphasize the importance of rainfall during this time. Double-cropped crops growing in a decreasing temperature environment must seize the opportunity of higher temperatures to carry out timely fertilization and field management.

Agricultural Activities during Lichun:

Management of Vegetable Fields:

During the transition to autumn, as a result of continuous high temperatures, strong sunlight, intermittent drought, and occasional heavy rainfall, meticulous management of vegetable fields is required. This includes measures to combat drought, prevent flooding, provide additional fertilization, weed, cultivate, protect flowers and fruits, and prevent and control diseases and pests.

Management of Cash Crops:

For early rice, it is crucial to expedite harvesting and drying to shorten the crop cycle. For late-season rice, efforts should be made to complete transplanting before Lichun and implement field management to mitigate the effects of high temperatures. Cotton and other cash crops also require attention to maintenance and protection against pests and diseases.

Prevention and Control of Pests and Diseases:

Various crops, including chili peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and celery, require vigilant pest and disease management during this period. Measures such as spraying pesticides and providing shade can help protect these crops.

Harvest and Maintenance:

For crops like cotton, ongoing efforts are needed to maintain plant health through actions such as topping, pruning, and removing old leaves. This promotes healthy boll development and reduces losses due to rot and falling bolls.

Prevention and Management of Diseases:

Diseases such as powdery mildew and leaf spot need to be monitored and controlled through appropriate measures.

beginning of autumn food

Braised Pork Elbow

Braised pork elbow is a traditional Chinese dish known for its rich flavor and nutritional value. Additionally, red-braised pork elbow is a historic specialty in the Weifang region, appreciated for its tender, well-seasoned, and nutritious qualities. It has been recognized as a “Shandong Famous Snack.”

Roast Duck

Beijing duck, a type of waterfowl, boasts tender meat and a delightful taste. It is rich in nutrients, including ample unsaturated fatty acids that do not accumulate in the body and contribute to cardiovascular health. The duck’s skin contains a significant amount of collagen, making it a sought-after ingredient for skincare. Hence, Beijing roast duck is a healthful and enjoyable dish for people of all ages.

Soy-Braised Beef

Soy-braised beef is known for its benefits in nourishing the spleen and stomach, enhancing bone and muscle strength, relieving phlegm and wind, and quenching thirst. It is suitable for individuals with deficiencies in vital energy, shortness of breath, weak muscles and bones, anemia, and symptoms of paleness and dizziness.

Roast Lamb

“Roast lamb” is a signature dish of the Bai Kui Lao Hao Muslim Restaurant in Beijing. This preparation method can also be applied to other parts of the lamb, such as the head, neck, hooves, belly, intestines, liver, lungs, heart, and neck. However, the head, hooves, and “scorpion” do not require frying. If the entire lamb is served simultaneously, it is referred to as “roast whole lamb.”

Pig’s Head Meat

Pig’s head meat has long been acclaimed for its deliciousness. In the Huaiyang cuisine tradition, “Stewed and Roasted Whole Pig’s Head” is particularly renowned and has a rich history. Pork provides high-quality protein and essential fatty acids. It contains hemoglobin and cysteine, which promote iron absorption and help alleviate iron-deficiency anemia.

Eating “Zha”

In the Lai Xi region of Shandong, it is customary to eat “zha” (a type of tofu) on the day of Lichun. “Zha” is made from soybean curd and greens. There is a saying, “Eating the ‘zha’ of Lichun prevents both vomiting and diarrhea in adults and children.”

“Biting Autumn”

In Beijing, Tianjin, and other regions, there is a tradition of “biting autumn” on the day of Lichun. It is believed that eating melon on this day can prevent diarrhea in the coming winter and spring. “Jinmen Za Ji: Customs of the Four Seasons” states: “Eating melon during Lichun is called ‘biting autumn’ and can prevent diarrhea.”

Eating Dumplings or Buns

In the northeastern region, it is common to eat dumplings or buns. This practice is often referred to as “snatching autumn fat.” By taking a dumpling from someone else’s bowl, it is believed that one can develop a strong physique during the fall, replenishing lost energy from the summer.

Customs and Considerations for Lichun

Counter Heat and Nourish Yin:

After Lichun, the temperature difference between day and night increases. In terms of diet, it is advisable to counteract heat and clear internal heat by consuming foods that nourish Yin and moisten the lungs. Medical experts suggest that the rising dryness in autumn can deplete bodily fluids. Therefore, the diet should emphasize nourishing Yin and moistening the lungs. Foods like sesame, glutinous rice, honey, loquats, pineapples, dairy products, and other gentle and moistening foods are recommended to benefit the stomach and generate body fluids. Additionally, include legumes in the diet while reducing intake of greasy and heavy foods.

Spleen and Stomach Care:

In the initial period following Lichun, temperatures often remain relatively high, accompanied by higher humidity. After enduring the intense heat of summer, many individuals may have weakened spleen and stomach functions. In this climate, the focus of care should be on clearing heat, promoting diuresis, and enhancing spleen function to eliminate dampness and heat from the body. Individuals with Spleen deficiency often experience poor appetite, fatigue, and sallow complexion. During autumn, consuming healthful foods that benefit the stomach can facilitate the recovery of spleen and stomach functions, such as coix seed (Job’s tears) and Chinese yam. After an exhausting summer, especially for the elderly, Spleen and Stomach Yang deficiency is common. Therefore, when choosing foods, it’s best to avoid excessively cold foods like watermelon, pears, and cucumbers.

Psychological Adjustment:

Lichun marks the beginning of autumn. While the lingering heat of summer persists, the mornings and evenings become more comfortable. The recent gentle rain also brings a touch of autumn coolness, as the saying goes, “A rain in autumn brings a chill.” The expanding temperature difference between day and night can slow down metabolism and physiological functions, leading to disruptions in bodily functions. This, in turn, may lead to moodiness, difficulty concentrating, and even symptoms such as irritability, vivid dreams, and insomnia, collectively referred to as “autumnal depression.” It’s important to maintain a positive psychological outlook and engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation during this transitional period.

Taboos for the Beginning of Autumn

Avoid walking in the fields:

In ancient times, there was a taboo against walking in the fields on the day of “Liqiu,” as it was believed to be unfavorable for the autumn harvest.

Avoid bathing:

In the Laiyang area of Shandong Province, it is considered taboo to take a bath on the day of “Liqiu,” as it may lead to skin irritation (referred to as “autumn itch” or “秋狗子”). In some areas like Huang County, it is believed that bathing on this day might cause diarrhea in the autumn.

Avoid thunderstorms:

In Xiaogan, Hubei Province, there is a local saying: “Thunder and lightning on Liqiu, heaven takes back half.” This suggests that if thunder and lightning occur on the day of “Liqiu,” it is believed that half of the crops will be lost, indicating a reduced harvest.

Avoid rain:

Rain on the day of “Liqiu” is considered unfavorable, as it is believed that continuous rainy weather after “Liqiu” can hinder crop harvesting.

Avoid seeing a rainbow:

In places like Muping in Shandong, Nanchang in Jiangxi, and Changshu in Jiangsu, it is considered a taboo to see a rainbow on the day of “Liqiu,” as it is believed to result in a reduced grain yield.

Avoid intimate activities:

After “Liqiu,” the weather remains hot, but the temperature difference increases, and temperatures gradually lower. Ancient people believed that engaging in intimate activities during the autumn and winter seasons could deplete the body’s yang energy. Thus, this season is meant for conserving vitality.

the beginning of autumn symbolizes

Lichun signifies the beginning of autumn, marking the official start of the first month of autumn. In folk tradition, it involves rituals to worship the Earth deity, celebrate harvests, and engage in customs like “putting on autumn fat,” “biting autumn,” and “nibbling autumn.” Lichun symbolizes the commencement of the transition from lush growth to maturity in the autumn season. In the natural world, the interplay between yin and yang energies undergoes a shift, causing all living things to follow the descent of yang energy and embark on a journey from exuberant growth towards ripening.

Is the beginning of autumn the beginning of autumn

One of these seasonal nodes is “Liqiu,” which typically falls on August 7th or 8th in the Gregorian calendar. Although “Liqiu” signifies the beginning of autumn, in reality, in most regions, temperatures remain quite high, the lingering summer heat continues, and hot weather persists. Therefore, “Liqiu” does not truly mark the commencement of autumn.

In traditional Chinese culture, “Liqiu” holds significance as a crucial solar term, characterized by a wealth of customs and traditions. It primarily represents people’s sentiments and expectations towards the changing seasons.

beginning of autumn vs mid autumn

“Beginning of Autumn” and “Mid-Autumn” are two different terms that refer to specific points in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. They mark important moments in the seasonal cycle and are associated with various cultural and natural phenomena. Here’s an explanation of each term:

Beginning of Autumn:

The “Beginning of Autumn” (立秋, Lìqiū) is one of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar. It usually falls around August 7th or 8th in the Gregorian calendar. It signifies the start of the autumn season and marks the transition from summer to autumn. Despite its name, the weather might still be relatively hot in many regions, and summer’s heat may continue for some time after this solar term. The “Beginning of Autumn” has cultural significance and is associated with various customs and practices related to the changing seasons.


The “Mid-Autumn Festival” (中秋节, Zhōngqiū Jié) is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar, which usually falls in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. While “Beginning of Autumn” marks the start of autumn, the “Mid-Autumn Festival” is a specific celebration that occurs during the autumn season. It is known for its association with mooncakes, lanterns, family reunions, and the appreciation of the full moon. The festival is a time for expressing gratitude, making wishes, and enjoying the beauty of the moonlit night.

In summary, “Beginning of Autumn” is a solar term that marks the beginning of the autumn season, while “Mid-Autumn” refers to a specific festival celebrated during the autumn season, usually around the time of the full moon in September.

beginning of autumn vs the Autumnal Equinox

“Beginning of Autumn” and the “Autumnal Equinox” are both terms that relate to the changing of seasons in the context of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar and the astronomical calendar, respectively. Let’s differentiate between the two:

Beginning of Autumn:

The “Beginning of Autumn” (立秋, Lìqiū) is one of the 24 solar terms in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. It marks the transition from summer to autumn and usually occurs around August 7th or 8th in the Gregorian calendar. Despite its name, the weather might still feel quite warm, and summer’s heat may persist for some time after this solar term. The “Beginning of Autumn” has cultural and agricultural significance in China, and various customs and practices are associated with it.

Autumnal Equinox:

The “Autumnal Equinox” is an astronomical event that marks one of the two points during the year when the length of day and night are nearly equal. This phenomenon occurs when the center of the sun crosses the celestial equator, and it is a significant moment in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. The Autumnal Equinox usually takes place around September 22nd or 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere.

The key difference between the two terms is that the “Beginning of Autumn” is a solar term in the Chinese lunar calendar that signals the start of the autumn season based on traditional Chinese meteorological observations, while the “Autumnal Equinox” is an astronomical event that occurs as a result of the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its orbit around the sun.

In summary, the “Beginning of Autumn” is a term in the Chinese lunar calendar that denotes the start of autumn based on cultural and meteorological considerations, while the “Autumnal Equinox” is an astronomical event that occurs around September 22nd or 23rd and is related to the Earth’s position in its orbit.


In conclusion, “Liqiu” is a significant solar term and a season filled with joy and gratitude. We should learn to cherish every season in life, appreciate the gifts of nature, and be thankful for everything in our lives. At the same time, we should pay attention to health and wellness, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and embrace the wonderful autumn season.

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