We are all happy at the coming of Chǔshǔ. Chǔshǔ,(處暑) or in Japanese: 処暑shosho; Korean: 처서; cheoseo; Vietnamese: xử thử; (“limit of heat”) is the 14th solar terms. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 150° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 165°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 150°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around 23 August and ends around 7 September.
The pentads for end of heat are:
- 鷹乃祭鳥, ‘Eagles worship the Birds’
- 天地始肅, ‘Heaven and Earth begin to Withdraw’, alluding to the end of summer
- 禾乃登, ‘Grains become Ripe
End of Heat implies that most parts in China are getting rid of the hot summer and entering autumn. But in some areas, especially in South China, autumn is late in coming and people are still bothered by hot weather just as we are in much of the western northern hemisphere. End of Heat is also the busy harvest season for farmers in China. Supposedly, when the End of Heat comes, summer heat is gone. Clouds in the sky scatter around forming different shapes. There is a saying that goes, “Enjoying the clouds of various forms in July and August (these would be the lunar month, however).”
In China, regions beyond the Great Wall will enter autumn in early September. People can enjoy the scenery as it changes gradually from summer to autumn. We will not see autumn here for some time. The cats and I only hope End of Heat brings an end to 90+F/32+C days and some coolness at night which was missing for so many evenings this summer. I burned out the fan motor on my bedroom fan. Hot.
There is a saying that, “People tend to feel sleepy in spring, doze in summer and feel tired in autumn.” As the weather becomes cool during End of Heat, many people will feel languid and weary, which is called “autumn weariness”. It is a sign that the human body needs rest, People are much more active in the summer and burn energy both in activity and fighting the heat and humidity, which really tires the body. I know it took the starch out of me and the cats, who spent a lot of time imitating those mummified ancient Egyptian cats. To counter this “autumn weariness”, get enough sleep, do more gentle exercises and keep plants indoors to purify the air and create restful space . .
While they do not originate in China, one plant to enjoy at this time is the night-blooming cereus. It is a flower full of mystery, which often blooms during the period of End of Heat. This is because the climate during End of Heat, characterized by warm days and cold nights, is similar to the tropical deserts in Mexico and South America where night-blooming cereus originates. They blossom at night to avoid the blazing daytime sun. The Hylocereus cactus, particularly Hylocereus undatus is the main source of the commercial fruit crop of pitahaya or as it’s known in English, dragonfruit.
A folk tradition is to eat duck during the End of Heat period. Duck has a sweet flavor and according to Chinese traditional medicine it has a “cool” nature. There are many recipes for cooking duck such as roast duck, cooked duck with lemon, smoked duck with walnut dressing and sautéed duck with ginger shoots. The tradition of eating duck during the End of Heat period is still popular in China. It is also popular with my cats who are partial to roast duck I found while trying to augment their commercial food,,
For fishermen, the End of Heat is a season of harvest. During this period, the Fishing Season Festival is held in regions along the coastline of the East China Sea in Zhejiang province. The festival is held on the day when the fishing ban ends and fishermen can start fishing again. Due to high temperatures in the sea, stocks of fish remain and become mature. People can enjoy many kinds of seafood during this period.