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There are 24 solar terms in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. Today, we are specifically looking into 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng) Frost’s Descent. Chinese Frost’s Descent is eighteenth in the 24 solar terms. This year, it begins on the twenty-third of October and ends on the sixth of November.
霜降 (Shuāngjiàng) refers to the season when frost starts to descend across China, or “the dew was congealed into frost” due to the cold, as recorded in ancient Chinese books.
霜降 (Shuāngjiàng): Frost’s Descent
霜 (shuāng): the first tone, frost
降 (jiàng): the fourth tone, descend, fall, drop; lower, down
Shuāngjiàng guò le, jìde jiā yī shang
霜 降 过了，记得加 衣裳！
The frost is over, remember to add clothes!
Lánhuā xiāng, júhuā xiāng, Shuāngjiàng shíjié shùyè huáng
兰 花 香， 菊花 香，霜 降 时节 树叶 黄。
Orchid is fragrant, chrysanthemum is fragrant, and leaves are turning yellow during Frost’s Descent.
As the last solar term of autumn, during 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng), the weather becomes much colder 寒冷 (hánlěng) than before, so the arrival of 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng) means the beginning of cold autumn. The water vapor on the ground condenses into a white ice crystal called frost. During this period, plants slowly lost their vitality. Even the most cold-resistant plant can’t survive 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng). That gave birth to the saying among folks, “霜降杀百草 (Shuāngjiàng shā bǎi cǎo ) Frost’s Descent kills herbs.”
寒冷 (hánlěng): cold (climate), frigid, very cold
寒 (hán): the second tone, cold, wintry, chilly
冷 (lěng): the third tone, cold, cool; lonely
Zhèlǐ de dōngtiān hěn hánlěng
这里的冬 天 很 寒 冷。
The winter here is very cold.
Dōngtiān de xiāngcūn suīrán hánlěng, què chōng mǎn kuài lè
冬 天 的乡 村 虽然 寒冷， 却 充 满 快乐。
Although it is cold in winter, the village is full of happiness.
During 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng), frost starts to form. It fills the world with the cold yet assuaging atmosphere of late autumn. As the weather becomes colder, some fruits become ripe during this time. However, it is not limited to fruits. Some delicacies and activities are particularly lovely during 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng). The solar term brings not only beautiful scenes but also delicious fruits, delicacies, and enchanting activities. Let’s know more details!
During 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng), persimmons are ripe. Persimmons 柿子 (shìzi) have a sweet, mild, and rich taste. Some people say that it is almost ‘honey-like.’ That is why it pairs well with the cold weather. Adding to this, Persimmons 柿子 (shìzi) are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It gives the effects of clearing away heat and moisturizing the lungs. Furthermore, because it is rich in vitamin C, it is perfect for preventing cold. Eating persimmons 吃柿子 (chī shìzi) during 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng) helps people resist the cold and makes an ideal snack.
“Eat an apple 苹果 (píngguǒ ) after meals, even old men can be as strong as young men” – Chinese proverb
Another delicious fruit to eat during this time is apple 苹果 (píngguǒ ). After Frost’s Descent, the sugar content of apples is high, and the pulp has more crisp. Apples have immune-boosting nutrients. It moisturizes the lungs, relieves cough, and promotes digestion. As the proverb goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
It’s a custom to eat duck 鸭子 (yāzi) on the first day of Frost’s Descent in south Fujian province and Taiwan. As the Fujian saying goes, “Even nourishing all year is not as good as nourishing the human body on the day of Frost’s Descent.” Duck 鸭子 (yāzi) has a rich and soothing flavor. It has a delicious taste that’s tender, moist, and fatty—the perfect protein combination for meat lovers. Adding to this, the duck is cold in nature and sweet in taste. It has the effects of nourishing yin and detoxifying deficiency. It can clear away heat and moisturize dryness. During this time, eating duck 鸭子 (yāzi) is a way for people to gain weight.
During 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng), the leaves turn from golden yellow to red. It becomes the perfect time to bask in the cold air and beautiful scenery. For this reason, activities like hiking became popular as people took in the bright red leaves. Enjoying maple leaves is an old tradition that started in ancient times. Du Mu, A well-known poet from the Tang dynasty, depicted the mountains’ scenery in a poem: ” 停车坐爱枫林晚，霜叶红于二月花。 (Tíngchē zuò ài fēnglín wǎn, shuāngyè hóng yú èr yuè huā )I stop the carriage, loving the maple wood in the evening. The frosted leaves are redder than the second month’s flowers.”
Another way of entertainment during 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng) is festivals. Some regions in China celebrate the first day of 霜降 (Shuāngjiàng). One example is people in Daxin county in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. In Frost’s Descent Festival, the people offer sacrifices, dance, and sing folk songs. With a history of more than 360 years, the festival is to commemorate Cen Yuyin, a heroine in battles against foreign aggression.
Notice: After the frost, the weather becomes colder. In China, people would choose to drink warm water and opt for the habit of going to bed early.
Please click here to take the mini test of Chinese Frost’s Descent.
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