芒种 Mangzhong (Grain in Ear)
24 Solar Terms
Mangzhong (Grain in Ear) is the ninth solar term of the year and the third in summer, marking the beginning of midsummer; Mangzhong in Chinese means that the wheats with awns are ready to harvest, and the rice with awns are to be planted. It is also the only solar term with its name directly linking to agriculture.
Mangzhong marks a time of plenty of heavy rain and rising temperature, when the “plum rain season (meiyu)” arrives in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River. It is a good time to cultivate rice and other cereal crops.
Offering sacrifices to the Flower God
Mangzhong falls mostly in the middle of the fifth month of Chinese Lunar Calender, when flowers begin to wither. In Ming and Qing dynasties, people offered sacrifices to the Flower God to show their gratitude and wishes for her return in the next year. Nowadays, this tradition almost fades away, sadly, but we can still read about this romantic ritual in the famous Chinese novel A Dream in Red Mansions.
Wishing for good harvest (Anmiao)
Since early Ming dynasty, people in Southern Anhui province have been holding ceremonies after rice planting on Mangzhong to wish for a good harvest. Each and every household grinds newly-harvested wheat and cooks steamed bread dyed with vegetable juice in the shapes of crops, livestock, fruits and vegetables. They present them as offerings for a better harvest and peacefulness.
Boiling green plums
Plums ripen in May and June in Southern China. Green plum is rich in natural organic acid and minerals that can reduce fatigue and blood lipid level, boost immune system and beautify appearance. However, as fresh plums are bitter and sour, a boiling process ensuring good taste becomes necessary.
Mental health tips: Keep a relaxed and upbeat mood instead of anger or sorrow.
It is believed that rain shall always fall on Mangzhong. Consequently, farmers need to finish harvesting wheat before the rain and prepare to plant again afterwards, signifying a busy planting season (an implication reflected in the name of Mangzhong in Chinese). In Xiangcheng, Henan province, the region generating the highest wheat yields, farmers are working diligently in the fields. Their flexible and natural temperaments are derived from such self-sufficient lifestyle.
今年的芒种次日——6月6日，恰巧是瑞典的国庆节。1523 年 6 月 6 日，古斯塔夫•瓦萨被选为国王；1809 年的同一天，瑞典实施新宪法。这一天，可以很难得地看到瑞典人挥舞自己的国旗。每年，瑞典国王和王后都会参加在斯德哥尔摩的斯堪森露天博物馆举行的国庆典礼，旗杆上升起黄、蓝两色的瑞典国旗，身穿传统农民服装的孩子们为国王夫妇献上夏季的花束。
Following Mangzhong this year, the Swedes celebrate their National Day on 6 June in honour of two historical events: Gustav Vasa being elected king (6 June 1523) and the adoption of a new constitution (6 June 1809). This day normally offers a rare chance to see Swedes waving the national flag. Every year, the King and Queen of Sweden take part in a ceremony at Skansen, Stockholm’s open-air museum, where the yellow and blue Swedish flag is run up the mast, and children in traditional peasant costume present the royal couple with bouquets of summer flowers.
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