Among folks, there goes a jingle, “Whoever eats eggs on the day of Start of Summer will have the strength to crush stones”, to the effect that if you eat eggs on the day of Start of Summer, you will be full of vim and vigor. On the day, children will wear egg nets made of silk around their necks and put boiled chicken and duck eggs inside, and some children like painting patterns on eggs. They will dash against each other to conduct strength competitions, which people call crashing eggs.
From the perspective of modern nutrition, the custom can somewhat hold water scientifically, for egg is the food of choice in summer to replenish the nutrition our body needs with speed. In summer, people tend to sweat heavily and lose a lot of physical strength. So, at the time, eating eggs can not only quickly replenish the energy but also improve the resistance to disease, which is very good to maintain the good health during scorching summer days.
On the day of Start of Summer, the weighing custom after lunch prevails in China. A large wooden weighing scale with a stool on the steelyard hook will be slung. People sit on the stool and weight themselves one by one. When reading the number, the weigher will say a string of auspicious words. By the day of Liqiu, the custom will be acted on again to check how much weight we have gained so as to know our physical growth. It is said that whoever is weighed on the day will no longer get afraid of summer heat and will not lose any weight in the following summer days.
In the past, the Chinese ancients established the tradition of eating porridge, hanging eggs and other customs on the day of Start of Summer. According to a folk legend, whoever eats porridge on the day of Start of Summer would be blessed with health and safety throughout the year. If you are the health-conscious type, you had better nourish and maintain your spleen and stomach during summer. Eating more porridge and soup is a good choice which can produce saliva, slake thirst, relieve summer heat and nourish the body. Adding some lotus leaves to the porridge comes highly recommended. With the additions, the porridge will get more fragrant and help you get rid of the scorching heat.
Eating Special Rice
On the day of Start of Summer, it is a tradition for Chinese people to tuck in an assortment of rice food - black rice, glutinous rice with peas, you name it. Although the food is mainly made from ordinary rice, it would greatly whet your appetite with a dazzling array of seasonal additions in different colors. On this day, southerners like to cook red beans, soybeans, black beans, green beans and mung beans with rice into “five-color rice”, commonly known as “Lixiafood”.
Tasting Seasonal Food
The custom of “tasting seasonal food on the day of Start of Summer” prevails in China’s many places. People act on the custom and tuck in seasonal food on the day to pray for good health and good luck. A wide choice of seasonal fruits and vegetables such as cherries, bamboo shoots, green beans, garlic sprouts, edible amaranth and green plum is on the list of people to eat. Just as the custom advocates, people should eat more kinds of fruits and vegetables which are rich in vitamins and dietary fiber. Take Vitamin C - it can not only improve the immune ability of the body, but also effectively resist UV damage to the skin so as to protect you from sunburn.
Making Summer Food
On the day of Start of Summer, the custom of making Dingbianhu in celebration of the solar term is very popular in Fuzhou. Dingbianhu (also known as Guobianhu) consists of burnt rice made from rice syrup and various ingredients like shrimp, shrimp sauce, green onion, needle mushroom, black fungus and clams, or a small amount of mushroom, dried razor clam and seafood soup. So, this unique snack is very tasteful and delicious.
Eating Flour-made Food
In the North China mainly grows wheat, and the day of Start of Summer just marks the time to harvest wheat. So, vast regions of North China follow the tradition of making and eating flour-made food on the day in celebration of a bumper harvest. And the flour-made food mainly includes summer cake, pastry and spring roll.
In Jiangxi, Yangzhou and other places, it is a tradition to drink tea on the day of Start of Summer. With the advent of scorching summer, drinking tea regularly, especially naturally cool green tea, will help you get rid of summer heat and have therapeutic effect. In addition, due to the high temperature of summer days, human body will lose more water and drinking tea regularly can timely replenish the losing water.
Celebrating the Advent of Summer
In the past, the ancients attached great importance to Start of Summer. According to records, on the day of Start of Summer, emperors along with civil and military officials would follow the tradition to hold a ceremony to celebrate Start of Summer in the suburb. All people, both emperors and civil and military officials, wore red robe and red jade pendant with red horses and flags in hopes of a bump harvest and the realization of wishes.
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