Chinese Autumn Begins Today

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Friday, 7 August 2009
Today marks the Beginning of Autumn 秋天 (qiūtiān), the 13th seasonal division on the traditional Chinese calendar. From a meteorological point of view, it symbolizes that the hot summer is about to end and cool autumn breezes will soon be blowing.

There are 24 seasonal division points by which the solar year is divided under the traditional Chinese astrological calendar. The Beginning of Autumn has been treated as a very important point since as early as 3,000 years ago. The royal family and officials usually gathered at the outskirts of the capital city to perform a ritual to usher in autumn. It not only marks the intersection between summer and autumn, but also the time to prepare for the year's harvest.

The Beginning of Autumn was also a festival in ancient times. People ate porridge made from red beans and dates which symbolize harvest for the year ahead.

Due to different geographical locations and altitudes, the exact date that each area of China enters the season of autumn varies. In most areas, summer heat will stay around for another month or so until temperatures eventually drop day-by-day to about 22 degrees Celsius in early September - the real beginning of fall.

Autumn is often seen as the most beautiful season of the year with comfortable weather and fine scenery. Farmers across the country are preparing for a big harvest that will bring hope and luck for the year ahead.

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