24 Solar Terms: Rain Water

Authors: Go Chengdu

2020-02-19

Falling on February 19 this year, Rain Water is the time when temperatures begin to rise and rain becomes more frequent.
The Rain Water (Yu-shui, 雨水in Chinese) is the 2nd term of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar, following the Start of Spring, or Lichun.
It falls on February 19 this year. From the day on, rainfall and the moisture from the ground are increasing, but dew and frost can still be seen in the morning in early spring.
(Video by Liu Zhao)
***Folk Customs
[Water as precious as oil]
There is an ancient Chinese saying, "Rain during the spring time is as precious as oil," signifying the importance of rain to the plants and farming.
Therefore, Rain Water is considered as a key period for irrigation when the day gets warmer and rainfall increases, especially in northern China where the rainfall is rarely sufficient.
[Married daughters visit their parents]
On the first day of Rain Water, married women in the western Sichuan traditionally pay a visit to their parents' home as a way to express gratitude.
According to the tradition, gifts are usually two cane chairs winded with four meters of red belt, which symbolize good health and longevity. Another typical gift is a pot of cooked dish that contains pig's knuckles stewed with soya and kelp, by which the son-in-law expresses his respect and gratitude.
[Coldness lingers]
The fast increase in air humidity due to rainfall can result in lower temperature and wet weather. People are advised not to take off the thick coats too early and to keep warm, especially elderly and children.
Ancient Chinese people said it would be better to keep your coat on for despite of the warming weather, because the winter chill still lingers in the air.
[Healthy dishes for spring]
Chinese medicine believes that the spring is the best season to protect the spleen. It is recommended to keep a balanced diet, while maintaining similar portions in the intake of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Therefore, a bowl of nutritious porridge is the best choice to nourish the body.
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