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The 18th Solar Term – Frost’s Descent

 Arts and Culture

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Frost’s Descent, the 18th solar term, also the last one in autumn, falls roughly on Oct. 23rd when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 210 degrees.  

Why is it called Frost’s Descent? 

This solar term gets its name from the typical weather conditions around Oct. 23rd. On the day of Frost’s descent, the vapor in the air freezes on the ground, usually overnight, in the form of tiny ice needles or hexagonal flower shapes. In the eyes of the ancient Chinese people, it was the first time of the year that they had seen the frost coming. So, they named the day “Frost’s Descent.” 

According to ancient records, there are three signs to look for that the Frost’s Descent period has begun.  

The first sign is that animals begin to hunt and store food after the first day of Frost’s Descent, in preparation for the coming winter.  

The second one is that trees and grass become withered and there are fallen leaves everywhere.  

The third sign is that hibernating animals begin to stay in their caves to spend the winter.  

How to enjoy Frost’s Descent? 

Frost’s Descent has its glamour and beauty. The colors of the leaves turn from green to red, and it’s the best time to enjoy the autumn landscapes of red leaves. People can take a stroll in a park and savor the last drop of autumn’s color. 

As the poem written by Du Mu goes, “I stop my carriage to enjoy the beautiful scenery of red maple forests, of which the leaves seem redder than spring flowers in February.” When all the leaves have fallen, white ice crystals of frozen water vapor cover the ground, reminding people of the arrival of winter.  

What to eat on Frost’s Descent? 

Frost’s Descent is a high-risk time for the occurrence of chronic disease like gastritis. That’s why we should pay more attention to taking care of our health. Eating more pears, apples, onions, and gingkoes is conducive to keeping our body healthy. The chestnut is also an excellent nourishing food during this period because they have a warm nature and sweet flavor, thus suitable for nourishing the stomach and relieving coughs. 

By: Cai Wenting

Photo: Huang Weimin

Cover Designer: Li Zhuo

Editors: Qin Mian and Keith Harrington

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