Quanjude restaurant's new menu includes "peony duck", or Peking roast duck that resembles a fully opened peony blossom. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]
The End of Heat, or Chu Shu in Chinese, is the 14th of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, the End of Heat runs from August 23 to September 7. When the End of Heat arrives, people start to enjoy walks around China's cities to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery.
Follow us to learn more about the meaning of this season!
1. Is the End of Heat the same as the "end of the dog days"?
Not really, but they have something in common. Usually, the last day of the dog days and the End of Heat are only a few days apart. For example, in 2018, the End of Heat starts on August 23 and the last day of the dog days is August 25. Both mean that most areas in China are past the hottest days of summer heat and are gradually entering autumn. It also means that the busy harvest season for the country's farmers is approaching.
2. Do you feel weariness in autumn?
Have you ever heard the old saying "People tend to feel sleepy in spring, doze in summer, and feel tired in autumn"? As the weather cools, many people feel weary. Chinese people often call it the "autumn weariness", which means that your body needs rest. During this time of year, getting some extra sleep is a good idea!
3. Nourish yourself with cooling foods
Chinese traditional medicine says that different foods have a cooling (yin) or warming (yang) effect on the body, and that you should change your diet to match changes in the weather. According to these beliefs, autumn is a good time to clear excess heat from our bodies. This is why Chinese people like to eat cooling food at this time of year.
Duck meat is said to be a cooling (yin) food, so it's a great meat to eat during the End of Heat. But just because it's 'cooling' doesn't mean it has to be eaten cold. It can be roasted duck, cooked with beer or Coke Cola, or turned into duck soup. Traditional Chinese Medicine also says that duck meat is beneficial for our skin, which is another good reason to eat it during the dry autumn days.
4. It's time for a display of night-blooming cereus
The night-blooming cereus usually blooms during the End of Heat period, thanks to the season's warm days and cold nights. Night-blooming cereus flowers are almost always white or a very pale color, and are often fragrant. The flowers are short lived, often opening after nightfall and wilting before morning.
5. The Fishing Season Festival starts
For Chinese fishermen, the period of the End of Heat is a harvest season, which means that many people can enjoy many kinds of seafood during this time of year. During this period, the Fishing Season Festival is held in regions along the coastline of the East China Sea in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces. It is usually held in mid-August when the fishing ban ends.
6. Releasing water lanterns in rivers
China's Ghost Festival, called Zhongyuan in Chinese, falls on the 15th day of the seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar. Among the various folk customs associated with Zhongyuan Festival, the floating of water lanterns is perhaps the most beautiful spectacle.
The water lantern, also called a lotus lantern, is made by pasting paper into a lotus shape. A lamp or candle is placed inside. On the night of the festival, the lotus-shaped lanterns are lit and set afloat in rivers and out into seas to symbolically guide the lost souls of forgotten ancestors towards the afterlife.