24 Solar Terms: Grain Full

Authors: Go Chengdu


The day of the Grain Full marks the beginning of the last growing period of summer crops, when the seeds are becoming nearly full but not mature.
The Grain Full (Xiao Man, 小满in Chinese) is the 8th term of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms (a supplementary system in the Chinese calendar to guide farm work), which falls on sometime between May 20 and May 22.
Most parts of China are in summer on the day of the Grain Full. After the day, the temperature difference between south and north China gets smaller. It rains more often, and plants grow vigorously.
Traditional customs
Eating sow thistles
Grain Full is a season for eating herbs, such as the common sow thistle, which is one of the earliest edible potherbs in China.
It tastes a little bitter and tart, but also sweet. It has the function of cooling the blood and detoxifying the body. It can be made into different dishes, which taste savory and help people feel refreshed.
Celebrating the birthday of silkworm deity
During the Grain Full season silkworms have produced cocoons, and people begin to cook cocoons and prepare the spinning wheel for reeling silk.
People in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces regard the day of Grain Full as the birthday of the silkworm deity, and they thank the silkworm deity by offering sacrifices and staging performances. They pray to the deity for blessings and a boom season for the silk business.

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