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Understanding China - The Little Heat of the Twenty-Four Solar Terms

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Minor Heat(Chinese: 小暑), the 11th solar term of the year, begins on July 7 this year and ends on July 22.

Minor Heat signifies the hottest period is coming but the extreme hot point has yet to arrive.

The following are several things you need to know about Minor Heat:

Storms, thunder and hail often happen during Minor Heat, though in some years there might be droughts. One of the prevailing farming activities during Minor Heat is staying on top of flood control and drought relief.

After Minor Heat, the upcoming period is known as the “dog day” (San Fu Tian). People continue to adhere to dietary customs, including eating dumplings and “fu noodles”.

As for the custom of eating noodles during the dog day, its origin can be traced back to the Three Kingdoms period. During this time, people consume “water noodles” and “stir-fried noodles”. “Water noodles” refer to cooking flour in water and consuming it along with water and sugar. “Stir-fried noodles” involve frying flour in a pan, then adding water and sugar to make a dish. Such practices not only help cool down the body but also promote sweating and the elimination of toxins.

dog day:It is the hottest and most humid period of the year, occurring between the solar terms of Minor Heat and End of Heat.

In Minor Heat, high temperatures are good for the growth of the lotus flower. From Minor Heat to the Double Ninth Festival, the lotus flower is in full bloom, and always simple but elegant.

Double Ninth Festival: refers to the practice of hanging colorful clothes out in the sun. During the hot weather of the Minor Heat period, people take out various garments for sun-drying. This practice serves to sterilize and remove musty odors from the clothes. By sun-drying the clothes, they also become refreshed and dry.

In addition to clothes, people also take out books and paintings stored in bookcases to be sun-dried. This helps to remove moisture and prevent the growth of mold. It also helps protect the books and paintings from being affected by humidity, avoiding damage and preventing infestation by pests.

One custom in Nanjing, Jiangsu province has to do with enjoying small melons on the day of Minor Heat and having big melons on the day of Major Heat. Small and big melons normally refer to cantaloupes and watermelons.

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