Autumnal Equinox is the 16th of the 24 solar terms, which is generally from September 22nd to 24th on the Gregorian Calendar. The highest point of the sun continues to move south after the autumnal equinox so that the days are short and the nights are longer in the northern hemisphere while the southern hemisphere is experiencing the opposite effect.
There are two moments in the year when the Sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night consequently become equal duration. This is also when the two points in the sky where the ecliptic (the sun’s annual pathway) and the celestial equator (the imaginary circle equidistant from the celestial poles) intersect.
Most areas in China have gone into cool autumn weather featuring frequent rainfall and a sharp drop in “温度 () temperature”, as the cold air from the north butts up against warm air which falls gradually.
温度()： n. temperature
In ancient times, it is said that people would offer sacrifices to the sun in spring and provide sacrifices to the moon in autumn. The autumn sacrifice is to worship the goddess of the moon with moon cakes, watermelon, apples, and other seasonal sacrifices.
Under the moon, after putting the memorial tablet of “the Goddess of the moon” in the specific direction of the moon and burning the candle, the whole family worships the moon successively and prays for blessings.
The custom of admiring the moon is to worship the moon, creating a relaxed atmosphere. In that time, the moon looks to be full and bright, thus the custom of feasting and gazing at the moon has existed all this time.
In an ancient Chinese myth, there is a female beauty named Chang’e who flew to the moon to live in a “宫殿 () palace” so that her husband could not follow her.
宫殿 (): n. palace
During this season it is also a popular time to start traveling. “Autumn vegetable” is a kind of wild amaranth that can be found around the wild fields and can be seen flourishing quite often.
This “autumn vegetable” is picked and brought back home to be cooked into a “汤() soup” with fish fillets, which is called “autumn soup”.
汤 (): n. soup
In fact, this so-called “autumn soup” complies with autumn’s nourishing necessities proposed by Chinese Medicine.
During the autumnal equinox, everyone eats glutinous rice balls. It is also customary to insert many bamboo forks in the area of neighboring farmlands, aiming to protect crops from damages by sparrows by means of pricking them in the mouth. Sticking the moth of finch by may do not make efforts, but it is the good wish from farmers. This method doesn’t necessarily work as intended, however, it leaves the farmers hopeful.
As the name suggests, glutinous rice balls mainly consist of glutinous rice, therefore, the ingredients include high sugar content and calories. It is beneficial to replenish the heat energy of the body when eating during cool and cold seasons.
As it is said in the ancient book, The Detailed Records of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), “It is on the Autumn Equinox day that the Yin and Yang are in a balance of power…” So enjoy this special time of year.
A. 宫殿 ()
B. 温度 ()