Now it is time for the new Chinese Solar term – and we are very happy about it, because the coldest season is coming to an end. On February 4th 2022, we welcome the 1st of the 24 solar terms – The Beginning of Spring, or 立春 (Lìchūn in pinyin). Now, we can say “goodbye” to the cold winter and say “hello” to spring.
As we introduced you before, every solar term has three pentads, here are the ones of the Beginning of Spring: the first pentad, 东风解冻 (dōng fēng jiě dòng in pinyin) literally translates to “east wind thaw”. The second pentad, 蛰虫始振 (zhé chóng shǐ zhèn in pinyin) literally translates to “hibernated insects awaken”. And the last pentad, 鱼上冰 (yú shàng bīng in pinyin) literally translates to “fish swim upward near ice”.
The characters making up Lìchūn mean “beginning” and “spring”. Lichun is the first solar term of the year and is also regarded as the “Festival for Farmers” . As the cold in the earth is warmed up step by step, Beginning of Spring means that it is the last realxing period before the busy farming time, after this period, people can start farming again. And as the largest part of Chinese population was farmers – they followed this solar term calendar. That is also a reason why Chinese New Year is always around that time. As the dates vary every year, it is possible that there is no Lichun in the lunar year. These years are called 无春年 (wú chūn nián in pinyin, means no spring year), and it is believed that to get married during those years is unlucky.
During the Beginning of Spring, at 7 o’clock in the evening, you can see the Northern Star pointing northeast, at 45 degrees. Chinese people have a tradition on the first day of Lichun – they open their door to “invite” the air of spring to their homes.
According to Chinese traditional medicine, during this time, you have to take care about your health (as it is the beginning of a new year, which means that you will be healthier if you start the year healthy), especially the liver, as the weather is dry and Chinese people believe that it makes people get upset easy which is a bad emotion for the health of liver.
The main dish for this period is spring pancakes, Chinese name 春饼 (chūnbǐng in pinyin), and eating the spring pancakes together with other cooked dishes is called 咬春 (yǎochūn in pinyin, which translates as biting the spring). Eating spring pancakes is very similar to eating Pekin duck – you need a thin pancake and put different fillings inside, according to your taste, then fold it together like making a roll, then eat it from top to bottom. And, of course, people believe that this dish is good for the liver, prevents illnesses and bring you good luck. If you like to try this dish, we would recommend you to go to 满园春饼 (Mǎn yuán chūnbǐng in pinyin) or 郭大侠春饼 (Guōdàxiá chūnbǐng in pinyin), they offer really nice spring pancakes.
We hope you are chilling during this time. Like an old Chinese saying “The time of the year starts from spring, the time of the day starts from the morning”. Let’s take the best time of the year and make the most of it!
Stay tuned with Journeys & Jaunts
This Post Has One Comment
Pingback: 24 Solar terms - Introduction | Journeys & Jaunts