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The 6th Solar Term — Grain Rain

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Grain Rain, the 6th solar term, falls on April 20th this year.  

Grain Rain - Rain breeds hundreds of grains.  

It is the last solar term in spring of the Chinese lunar year. During this period, freezing rain and snowy weather have stopped. As the warm current moves towards the North, the weather gets considerably warmer than before. The temperature in most of the basin areas increases quickly. Apart from the north-west of the country, usually most of the basin areas in China reach 20 to 22 degree Celsius. 

Rain current

As an old Chinese saying goes, “the rain in spring is as precious as oil”. It starts to rain in the north on this day, however, the rainfall is often about 30 millimeters which is too little to grow crops without artificial irrigation. In contrast, the amount of rainfall increases much than the day of “Rain Water” which is very important for the growth of crops in the southern part of China. 

The origin

The term “Grain Rain” originated from a folk story. When Cang Jie, an official from the Yellow Emperor period, created written characters, grains fell from sky like rainfall. Therefore, the Yellow Emperor named this day “Grain Rain”. 

Festival activities

On this day, fishermen from northern coastal areas bless the sea to pray for their safety and good catch over the next year. Also, people living in the south will pick and cook tea leaves which they believe benefit their health, in particular their eyes.  

Health warning

The most significant weather feature around “Grain Rain” is the big difference in temperature between morning and night. It’s important to wear the correct clothing to not to catch a cold. People should also pay attention to their allergies at this time. 

By: Lu Wenqi

Editors: Qin Mian and Christopher Peter Clarke

Photo: Han Baozhi

Photo designer: Li Zhuo