The most vibrant days of Spring has come, as March 21 marks the Chunfen, or Vernal Equinox on the Chinese lunar calendar.
It is the fourth of the 24 solar terms of Spring as well as of the Chinese lunar year. But the Vernal Equinox has a comparatively more international recognition, as it also marks the point when daytime and night equally divides the whole day. After this day, the length of daytime will grow longer than night.
The day of Vernal Equinox therefore is not only a significant day in China, but also in many other countries around the world. For instance, the Vernal Equinox Day is a public holiday in Japan, while in Iran, it is called “Nowruz”, which is also known as the Iranian New Year.
Take an outing, when every branch is in blossom
Except on the mountains and plateaus covered with everlasting snow, the breeze of spring warms almost every area of China. The desolate colors of winter are finally replaced by the green sprouts and the multicolored flower buds.
For the Chinese people, it is probably the most vibrant time of the year, and the best time for an outing. In many areas, local tourism agencies promote routes featuring the best regions for admiring flowers during this time of year.
Rapeseed flowers in Wuyuan, the plum blossoms in Nanjing, the cherry blossoms in Wuhan and many other flowers, such as the peach, apricot and pear blossoms across the country all take turns to hit the Chinese social media platforms, as tourists post their scenic pictures online.
It is also the best time for children to fly kites. The ancient Chinese people used to write their wishes on the kites in hopes that the gods could see them from heaven.
There are also other rituals to mark the Vernal Equinox, such as erecting eggs, picking edible wild herbs, and putting sweet dumplings in fields in hope of keeping the birds from eating crops. Most of the rituals have been maintained over centuries.
Fresh vegetables with highly nutritious value
In southern China, people have the tradition of eating “Spring Vegetables” on the day of Vernal Equinox. It is a type of edible amaranth, and the local residents cook it in a soup and name it “the soup of the spring”.
Eating “Spring Vegetables” is a tradition widely shared in many areas across the country, but the vegetables could be different. The only thing in common is that they are all fresh seasonal vegetables that are rich in vitamins.
In the northern areas, bird’s nest drinks, pears and white fungus are highly popular, as they are helpful for preventing the body from being affected by the dry weather.
The farmers in the north also need to keep an eye on their crops during the drought season. It is therefore one of the busiest times of year: ploughing the earth, sowing the seeds, and guaranteeing a timely harvest are all essential for the future harvest season in the autumn.
In a word, when the Vernal Equinox comes, the earth becomes active and lively again. It is time to wake up from the state of “hibernation” and embrace all the natural beauty bestowed upon us by spring!