24 Solar Terms: Grain in Ear

Authors: Go Chengdu


The day of the Grain in Ear sets off the busiest season for farmers.
The Grain in Ear (Mang Zhong, 芒种 in Chinese) is the 9th term of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms (a supplementary system in the Chinese calendar to guide farm work) and falls on sometime between June 5 and 7, when the sun moves to the celestial longitude of 75 degrees. The day sets off the busiest season for farmers: crops of different seasons need to be harvested, sowed or tilled. The rainy season begins in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China.
Traditional customs:
Farewell to the Flora Deity
People hold sacrificial ceremonies to bid farewell to the flora deity, wishing it will come back next year. Descriptions of the ceremony can be found in Chinese literature classics including Dream of the Red Mansion, though the custom has almost fallen into oblivion today.
Drink Green Plum Wine
Plums ripen in southern China during the period and people have the tradition of eating plums, usually processed in various ways, for the special tastes, nutritious properties and healthful functions of the fruit. Most Chinese people are acquainted with the vivid descriptions of the customs in the novel Romances of the Three Kingdoms.

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