When the cool breeze arrives and the leaves of the trees fall then everyone knows that the autumn is coming. Liqiu or The Beginning of Autumn is the thirteenth of the twenty-four solar terms of the lunar calendar. This year it falls on August 7. It begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 135°. It is also the first solar term in autumn, marking the beginning of the season and the end of summer. From this day on, autumn begins, the moon is bright and the breeze is light. After that, the temperature will gradually decrease.
In addition, the beginning of autumn indicates the coming of a fruitful season and autumn harvest. Therefore, the Chinese people will also worship the God of Land to show gratitude and celebrating the good harvest. The main customs of Liqiu include: Liqiu Festival, Touching Autumn, Autumn Busy Meeting, and Pasting Autumn Fat and so on.
Liqiu Festival, also known as July Festival, which starts on August 7 or 8 every year in the Gregorian calendar. In the vast rural areas, during the day or night of Liqiu, there is a custom to predict whether the weather is cold or warm. There is also the custom of tasting new things with watermelon and string beans, and honor past ancestors.
Touching Autumn happens on the day of August 15, and is also the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the midnight, all the married women who still have not got children after marriage, shall go to the field, find and touch the melon seeds, with the accompany of her sister-in-law or other females, hence the name Moqiu.
Pasting Autumn Fat is popular among people in some regions of China on the day of Liqiu, where the weight is compared with the weight during the solar term of Beginning of Summer. Since people have little appetite during the hot summer and their meals are quite simple, they will often lose some weight during these two to three months. The beginning of autumn will simulate appetite again. They want to eat something good and add a little nutrition to compensate for the loss during the summer. So, the solution is to “paste autumn fat”. On the day of Liqiu, people will eat lots of meat, stewed meat, braised pork, etc. to prepare themselves with health and nutrition for the coming of cold weather, thereby “Paste fat with meat”.
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