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Lixia, The Beginning of Summer

Today is the first day of the 7th “solar term” of the lunar calendar, which means it's summer in China. Find out how people celebrate.

05·06·2011

Today is the first day of the 7th “solar term” of the lunar calendar, called 立夏 (lìxià) which means “the beginning summer”  (the actual of summer solstice comes 45 days later). So what do people do to celebrate lixia? Customs vary by place and some customs aren’t as popular as they used to be, but don’t worry, there’s plenty to do!

Food:

Eating always seems to be the biggest issue in China. So special food for any particular day should always come first. 立夏蛋 (lìxià dàn) is the one of the typical 立夏 foods. People use black tea dust or walnut shells to boil eggs till they turn dark red. It is said that the shape of egg looks like a heart, therefore, eating red eggs on 立夏 symbolizes a kind of protection of heart and also provides you with enough strength to survive the coming hot summer days. Besides eggs, 立夏饭 (lìxià fàn) was also very popular in the old days. People used red, yellow, black, green beans and peas, together with sticky rice to make a bowl of five-color rice. This color-rich rice will bring you good harvests in the summer.

Customs:

  • Weighing people 称人 (chēng rén): this custom is said originate from the Three Kingdoms Period. People used to weigh their children every 立夏,if the child was heavier than the previous year, that meant the children were becoming healthier and parents wouldn’t have any worries for the hot summer. Because of the wish that choldren be heavier, children were usually weighed after they had had 立夏饭.
  • Egg striking (see the picture) 斗蛋 (dòu dàn): children hang nettings over their neck and put eggs in the netting. They strike the eggs head (rounded end) with head, tail (pointed end) with tail to see whose egg breaks first. Playing with eggs can help children stay away from summer fever.

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Health preserving tips:

Health-preserving on 立夏 has a close relationship with the coronary protection because  hot weather can be a strain on your heart. As a result, people may easily feel tired or fidgety during summer days. Having good rests becomes very important; do not take up violent sports but do some slow activities, such as painting, fishing, and shadowboxing etc. Also, having a nap at noon time can help maintain your vigor. From the perspective of eating habits, eating more  sour food and less bitter food can help tonify your liver and kidneys.

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