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24 Solar terms – Rain Water

The time for the 2nd of the 24 Chinese Solar terms in 2022 starts today, on February 19th. Yǔshuǐ (雨水 in Mandarin) can be literally translated as Rain Water Solar term, which means that in this period the temperature increases and it is more likely to rain rather than snow. But for Northern China, the precipitation will mostly be snow.

Though the temperature starts to rise, it is too early to change your winter jacket to spring outfits – we might occasionally still get slight frosts. There is an old Chinese saying that the rainfall in spring is as precious as oil, as in Northern China, droughts were common and a lot of people who made a living with agriculture suffered a lot from them, this saying just explained how important water is to farming.

There are also 3 pentads in the Rain Water solar term, as in each of the solar terms previously discussed. The first one is 獭祭鱼 (tǎ jì yú in pinyin), which translates as ‘Otters make offerings of fish’. As fish begin to swim upstream from this period, they are hunted by otters, which are believed to offer the fish to heaven. The second pentad is 鸿雁来 (hóngyàn lái in pinyin), which means ‘The wild geese arrive’. Wild geese begin their northward migration, following the onset of spring. And, finally, the third is 草木萌动 (cǎomù méngdòng in pinyin). This one can be translated as ‘Trees and grass put forth shoots’.

During this period of time it is a tradition for the married daughters to visit their parents and husbands to visit their in-laws and give them gifts. The ideal gift used to be two cane chairs wound with four meters of red ribbon. It symbolizes good health and longevity. Another typical gift is a pot of cooked dish that contains pig’s knuckles stewed with soya and kelp, which represents the son-in-law’s respect and gratitude towards his wife’s parents.

visit your in-laws during Rain Water solar term

Sichuan province has another interesting custom – there, Rain Water solar term used to be the time to find a godfather for children. This tradition appeared many years ago, when Chinese medicine was often unable to cure most kids’ diseases. That is the reason why parents were searching for godfathers, as they believed that he could shower children with blessings and good luck, so they will grow up safely and be healthy and strong.

There is a belief that this period is harmful for people’s spleen and stomach, so the “main” dish for the Rain Water term is a bowl of nutritious porridge. Some people add different kind of herbs, for example perilla, to it in order to resist cold and wet weather and eliminate heat from the blood.

Eat porridge during rain water solar term

Changeable weather may cause negative emotions and moods of people. So, it is important to take time to relax and do some physical exercises to keep body and mind “fit”. It is also recommended not to eat too oily and fat food – but fruit, vegetables and other products full of vitamins are a good choice for Yǔshuǐ. Appearantly, in this time of the COVID-19, this recommendation for staying healthy will be doubly useful.

Fruit and vegetables full of vitamins are important during rain water solar term

Take care of your health and join Journeys & Jaunts in waiting for the first spring spirit! Regarding the COVID-19, it is a tough time, but together we can face it and in the end, we will defeat it. We hope that in very near future, we will see your lovely faces laughing in the bright spring sunshine once more!

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