July 23 this year is called “Major Heat”, i.e. the 12th of 24 solar terms of the traditional Chinese calendar and the last solar term of summer. Major Heat features strong sunlight, high temperatures, and scorching heat, signifying the hottest and most humid period of the year.
On this day, people try to stay away from the heat. In ancient times, people would keep their minds calm by taking a boat to see lotus flowers, burning incense, and brewing tea during Major Heat. Nowadays, such activities have been replaced by playing qin or chess, calligraphy, and painting.
Eating “xiancao” (mesona) is a widespread habit in Guangdong. Xiancao, also called grass jelly, is a sweet dessert as a refreshing treat during summer. During Major Heat, people should make some changes to their daily routine. In summer, one should go to sleep later and get up earlier.
As hot weather affects digestion, people should eat light foods. Drink more water and eat more fresh fruit. Work out in the morning or afternoon. It’s also better to have less intense exercise, such as Tai Chi or jogging.