Chunfen

Brief Introduction

Vernal Equinox, better known as Chun Fen in Chinese, is the 4th solar term of the 24 solar terms. In general it is on March 20, March 21or March 22. This day is the bisecting point of day and night, as well as the bisecting point of spring. Its lunar time is not fixed.

In ancient China, people divide the time periods between Vernal Equinox and Tomb Sweeping Day into 3 parts. The first part is 5 days, during this period the swallows are flying back from South China; the second part is another 5 days when there are frequent thunder storms and rainy days; the third part is the last 5 days when lightening occurs on most rainy days.

The Geographic Meaning

On this day, the sun moves to the celestial longitude 0°and the direct solar radiation is on the equator. The lengths of day and night are equal. After that, the direct solar radiation moves north, the daytime in China becomes longer than the nighttime. This day also marks the midpoint of spring lasting for 90 days. The best time for cultivation of crops and sightseeing is coming.

Vernal equinox is an important solar term with great significance in terms of both astronomy and climate. In terms of astronomy, the lengths of day and night are equal on both northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. In terms of climate, most places in China, except Qinghai- Tibet Plateau, Northeast China, Northwest China and the northern part of North China have welcomed the spring. In the vast land of China, everything comes to life in the spring warmth.

The Weather Condition

After vernal equinox, except the cold alpine region and places in the north of northern latitude 45°, the cold winter has gone and the temperature keeps increasing.

The temperature in North China, Huang-Huai Plain and in the rainy regions of the Yangtze River rises to 10℃ simultaneously, stepping into the beautiful spring. In South China, it has already entered late spring. There is much rain in the south region of the Yangtze River, entering the “spring flood”. In North China, trees become green and flowers are in bloom but there is still a little rain in spring.

Calculation Method

[Y*D+C]-L
Y: The single-digit and tens digit of the year number.
D: 0.2422
C: 20.646 (This is the Vernal Equinox numerical number of the 21st century)
L: The number of leap years in recent Y year.
Take the calculation result of the first brackets as an integer.
Example: The date of 2092 Vernal Equinox
[92*0.2422+20.646]- (92/4) =42-23=19

Customs

1.Standing Eggs

On Vernal Equinox, it is quite popular to play the Standing Eggs game. It’s thought geographically that on this day the egg is easiest to stand, especially 4-day-old eggs.

This custom has been popular for 4000 years  for celebrating the coming of spring. The saying: “Eggs are smart when the Vernal Equinox comes” is still well-known by many Chinese.

2.Eating Spring Vegetable

“Eating spring vegetable on the Spring Equinox” is another famous folklore saying. Just as the saying implies, eating spring vegetable is another custom for celebrating this day. People always boil spring vegetable with fillets, calling the soup “spring soup”.

3.Sending Cows

On the Vernal Equinox, pictures of cows will be sent to many households to express people’s good wishes for the coming season. It is a picture of a farmer ploughing the farmland with the 24 solar terms printed on a big red or yellow piece of paper.

4.Sticking Sparrows' Mouth by Tang Yuan(Glutinous Round Balls)

On this day every household in the countryside eats Tang Yuan, a kind of glutinous round balls. Besides eating Tang Yuan, people would also cook 10 to 30 Tang Yuan without the stuffing and string them respectively in a bamboo prod. And then place these prods on farmland sides to avoid sparrows destroying the crop.

5.Worshiping Ancestors

On Vernal Equinox, Chinese begin to worship their ancestors by sweeping ancestors’ tombs or other activities, indicating spring worship. Before sweeping the tomb, descents need to hold a worship ceremony in the ancestral temple. During the ceremony people kill pigs and sheep, presented as an offering to their ancestors. Some may even invite performers to play music and a host to chant the elegiac address and leading descendants to do the worship.

6.Worshiping the Sun

In Zhou Dynasty, people would hold the ceremony of worshiping the sun on this day and another ceremony of worshiping the moon on the Autumn Equinox.

Health

During the solar term of vernal equinox, people’s blood and hormones are also in their peak period. It is easier to get high blood pressure, menstrual disorder, haemorrhoids and some hypersensitivity diseases during this period. Food which is hot or cold in nature is not suitable during this period. In addition, people had better not have soup which is too greasy.

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