二十四节气 The 24 Seasonal Division Points
The 24 Seasonal Division Points
According to the way of numbering the years in Chinese lunar calendar, there are two seasonal division points in each month, making 24 in a year.
The seasonal division points are peculiar to China. In the long period of productive labor, ancient men gradually realized the rule of climate change. According to the relationship between the sun and the earth, they divided all the days in a year into 24 parts to indicate the change of seasons and climate. Thus, there is a seasonal divisional point about every 15 days; those in the first half of the year (from January to June) all fall around the sixth or 21st day of the month, and those in the latter half of the year (from July to December), on about the eighth or 23rd day of the month.
The names for the 24 seasonal division points are: Beginning of Spring, Rain Water, Waking of Insects, Vernal Equinox, Pure Brightness, Grain Rain, Beginning of Summer, Grain Budding, Grain in Ear, Summer Solstice, Slight Heat, Great Heat, Beginning of Autumn, Limit of Heat, White Dew, Autumnal Equinox, Cold Dew, Frost's Descent, Beginning of Winter, Slight Snow, Great Snow, Winter Solstice, Slight Cold, and Great Cold, respectively.
The Beginning of Spring, Beginning of Summer, Beginning of Autumn and Beginning of Winter mark the start of four seasons. The Vernal Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox are the two points where the day and night are equal;
The Summer Solstice has the longest day and shortest night in a year, while the opposite is true for the Winter Solstice.
The Rain Water means the start of the spring rains. The Waking of Insects indicates that the spring thunder awakens hibernating insects.
The Pure Brightness means the onset of spring when a bright and clean spring scene replaces the cold, withered and yellow scene in winter.
The Grain Rain indicates that from that day, there will be more rainfall, which is beneficial to the growth of crops.
The Grain Budding shows that crops that will ripen in summer start to show plump seeds.
The Grain in Ear tells people that the wheat has ripened.
The Slight Heat and Great Heat indicate the full onset of summer, with the Great Heat being the hottest day of the year.
The Limit of Heat shows that scorching summer days will soon be gone.
The White Dew tells people that dew appears in the morning to show that the weather is turning cold, and, as this intensifies, we move on to the Cold Dew.
The Frost's Descent means the appearance of the first frost of the season.
The Slight Snow and Great Snow mean the arrival of the snowy season.
The Slight Cold and Great Cold indicate the degree of coldness in winter, with the Great Cold being the coldest day of the season.
The 24 seasonal division points have great influence on China's farming. For the convenience of memory, people compiled the Song for the 24 Seasonal Division Points:
Following the Beginning of Spring and Rain Water, the Waking of Insects awakens the Vernal Equinox, and then comes the Pure Brightness and Grain Rain,
Beginning of Summer, Grain Budding, Grain in Ear, Summer Solstice, Slight Heat, Great Heat, Beginning of Autumn, Limit of Heat, White Dew, Autumnal Equinox, Cold Dew, Frost's Descent, Beginning of Winter, Slight Snow, Great Snow, Winter Solstice, Slight Cold, and Great Cold, respectively.
After the Beginning of Summer, Grain Budding, Grain in Ear, and Summer Solstice, the Slight Heat is connected with Great Heat.
The Beginning of Autumn and Limit of Heat is followed by the White Dew, Autumnal Equinox, Cold Dew and then the Frost's Descent,
And the Beginning of Winter leads to the Slight Snow, Great Snow, Winter Solstice, Slight Cold and Great Cold.
In the first half of the year, the seasonal division points fall on the sixth or 21st day of the month,
And those in the latter half year occur on the eighth or 23rd day of the month.