The 24 solar terms are considered to be China's fifth great invention. Over 2,000 years ago, ancient Chinese people created this overall framework to mark the annual passage of time based on observations of the sun's motion.
The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Start of Spring is the first solar term of the year, while Major Cold is the last.
Nowadays, the 24 solar terms not only apply to agricultural activities, such as when to sow seeds and when to harvest, but also act as a guide to Chinese people in everyday life.
The Tropic of Cancer, located at approximately 23.5 degrees north latitude, passes through several provinces in China, including Guangdong. Natural landscapes and local customs linked to the 24 solar terms are unique to the province.
Along the Tropic of Cancer, we are going to explore the applications and customs related to the 24 solar terms.
The 24 Solar Terms · Start of Spring
painted by Chen Xiangbo, Chief Curator of Shenzhen Guan Shanyue Art Museum
Start of Spring, the first solar term of the year, begins this year on February 4. In ancient times, people believed that Start of Spring will lift the curtain of spring, and after that everything turn green and full of vigor. Therefore, Start of Spring is a time when everything starts to come back to life.
However, Start of Spring might not be spring meteorologically. According to meteorological standards, only those provinces including Guangdong that fall in the Tropic of Cancer have greeted the arrival of spring, while it is still winter in most of the other regions in the country. And the Start of Spring is also cold and wet in Guangdong this year.
People in Guangdong would hang spring flags and paintings with auspicious meanings to welcome the arrival of spring ahead of the Start of Spring. In some regions, locals hold boat parades, perform Spring Ox Dances and eat spring rolls to pray for success in spring.
Start of Spring in Guangdong this year is more like the start of a certain determination. A new year has come.
Host/Script: Chen Chen
Cameramen: Chen Chen, Li Qiaoxin
Video Editor: Chen Chen, Ou Xiaoming
English editors: Wing & Jerry