The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Grain Buds (小满, xiǎo mǎn), the 8th solar term of a year, begins on May 20 this year, and ends on June 5. It means that the seeds from the grain are becoming full but are not ripe.
In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But the solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through special foods, cultural ceremonies, gardening and even healthy living tips that correspond with each solar term. During the "Grain Buds" period, all things flourish and grow quickly, and the physiological activities of the human body enter the most vigorous period, resulting in the most consumption of nutrients in the year. How can we lead a better life in accordance with the features of Grain Buds?
A good season for eating fish
During the Grain Buds period, the summer harvest is about to begin. A saying about rain during this time mentions, "A heavy rainfallmakes the river full." Because of the great increase in rainfall,rivers are full of water, which makes fish and shrimp big and fat. This is agood time to eat fish and shrimp. It is also harvest season for fishermen.
A good season for eating mulberries
A Chinese farmer proverb says, "Mulberries become black during the Grain Buds period." It tells people that mulberries are ripe to be eaten during the season. It can help to improve eyesight, delay senescence, enhance the immunity and protect the cardiovascular function by eating more mulberries
A good season for eating cucumber, cherries and garlic shoots
There is another proverb that says, "Three fresh plants come into the market: cucumber, cherries and garlic shoots." Cherries, in particular, can not only nourish skin and resist cancers, but also promote the growth of children and prevent respiratory tract infection and diarrhea.
Eating herb of common sow thistle
Grain Buds is a season for eating the herb of 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 intodifferent types of dishes. People in Ningxia like to eat it blended with salt, vinegar, peppers or garlic. It tastes savory and helps peoplefeel refreshed. Some people boil the herb with water and then squeeze out the juice, which can be used to make soup.
Tips on health preserving in Grain Buds
High temperatures and humidity are common during the Grain Buds period. The increase in temperature over this season may alsogive rise to nettle rash, rheumatism, sweat spots, eczema and other skin diseases.
It is also important to exercise to keep healthy during the hot summer days. Walking, jogging or practicing tai chi is popular.
Key period for flower management
This time is a good period of the quick growth of flowers. It is also a season when plant diseases and pests are at an all-time high, which makes growing flowers even more critical.
Flower trimming and clipping is important. And a systematic fertilized water system should be carried out. Flowers need a lot of waterand extra care to ensure the plants remain healthy. Weeding should be done as they grow quickly and have to be extirpated in order tokeep the soil loose and from competing with the flowers for nutrients.
Celebrating silkworm deity birthday
Silkworm rearing is a traditional byproduct for people in regions south of the Yangtze River. During the Grain Buds season, silkworm shave cocooned. People begin to cook cocoons and prepare the spinning wheel for reeling silk.
People in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces regard this season as the birthday of the silkworm deity. Those who engage in the silkindustry thank the deity by offering sacrifices and staging performances. They pray to the deity for blessings and a boom season for the silk business.