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Li Chun - "Spring Begins" Solar Term for Year of Jia Wu 2014 by Pure Feng Shui

If you have been reading this blog since I started writing it regularly in 2010, you would have noticed the regular feature called "solar term" where I write about the 12 monthly solar terms (of the total 24) in a year that marks the beginnings of each of the 12 Chinese solar month. (The other 12 are the mid-month solar terms). 

In Chinese, it is called :

24 Solar term = 24 Jie Qi

The first word - Jie is the same Chinese word for "Festival" and second word - Qi is well, Qi as we know it by now! 

 This is the art of the Chinese method of designing calendar systems, also known as Li Fa:

From the illustration above, you can see that the 4th of February is the day of "Li Chun" or "Spring Begins" solar term. 

This is an important date in the Chinese solar calendar because it marks Jian Yin (建寅), which is the beginning of the new year of Jia Wu. Yin is the name of the first month, in the Tian Gan Di Zi system. The Chinese Lunar New Year that we had been and is still celebrating, is based on the Chinese luni-solar calendar. There are 2 calendars in the Chinese calendar system, or Li Fa for recording time. The luni-solar calendar with months of 29-30 days is used for daily activities for the largely agricultural society in ancient China. It is easier for the common people to match as they can refer to the shape of the moon at night to gauge which time of the month it is; and also because the moon affects the tides and agricultural crop cycles. This is the reason why up until today, majority of Chinese are still using the Chinese Lunar Calendar (农历) to record festivals and keep time.

The solar calendar with the 24 Jie Qi is what we use in Chinese Metaphysics.

You can click on the link above to get you to the page where I had written about Li Chun in 2011. 

In the illustration above, on the left side of the combined Chinese and Gregorian western calendar for the month of February, is the date for February 3rd and the right is for February 4th. 

You can see that for the Year pillar, it was Gui Si (Yin Water SNAKE) for February 3rd, and also the month for Yi Chou (Yin Wood OX). 

For February 4th, it is now Jia Wu (Yang Wood HORSE) for the Year pillar, and Bing Yin (Yang Fire TIGER) for the Month pillar. 

Ba Zi

If you have consulted me about your Ba Zi birth chart, you may be familiar with this explanation above. Technically the influence of Wood and Fire elements from the visiting annual year pillar is now in effect on your natal Ba Zi birth chart based on your date of birth and time. 

2nd solar month of Mang Zhong (Grain in Ear) of Summer

Solar Term: 2nd month of Summer 

(Mang Zhong) 芒种 

(Grain in ear) 

Some simple notes about the Chinese Solar Calendar:

(1) The Chinese Solar Calendar is divided into 24 solar terms (节气).

(2) There are 4 seasons in a year for temperate countries around the 30 degrees latitude.

(3) There are 3 months in one season, and from the 5th of June this current month, we have entered into the 2nd month of summer, and it is called "mang zhong" or "grain in ear".

(4) This is the 9th of the 24 solar terms.

(5)  The calculation for this solar term is as follows: [Y*D+C]-L where Y = last 2 digit of the year D=0.2422, L= previous leap year/4 21st century C=5.678, 20th century C=6.5 For example, 2010 this year. (10*0.2422+5.678)-(8/4) =6.1 So the date and time for 2010's summer "Mang Zhong" is June 6 at about 2:40 am

(6) The first word "mang" (芒)refers to the grains crop that is planted for food in agriculture. [A large and widespread family of plants, the Gramineae (or Poaceae), characterized by usually hollow stems, sheath-forming leaves in two longitudinal rows, and minute flowers arranged in spikelets. The grasses include important food plants such as wheat, rice, corn, barley, oats, and sorghum and also plants for turf and fodder.]

(7) It is a very busy time for agriculture as the grains are mature and ready for harvesting. The remainder of the seedlings that have not been transplanted should be transplanted at this seasonal marker time or else the subsequent harvests may not be as good due to the hot weather - the seedlings do not grow strong enough and may become susceptible to drought weather or insects and pests. For example, sweet potatoe crop have to be transplanted before the mid-point solar term marker of this month, "xia zhi" or else the crop may not produce tubers with good size.

(8) Typical of the weather of this period of time is also the "Yellow Plum Rain" (Mei Yu). This is the time when the yellow plum ripens and it coincides with the gloomy rainy weather. The "Plum Rain" is a welcomed aspect for farmers, as it brings about water for the crops, but at the same time the humidity may encourage rotting and mould.

(9) This weather is typical only to the region in China around the Yang Tze River Valley. 

 Source: Translated and edited from Baidu.com 

24 Chinese Solar Terms : Arrival of Summer

The second season of the Chinese Solar Calendar for the year of Ren Chen (Yang Water / Dragon) 2012, summer, arrives on 5th of May, 2012. The Chinese name to mark the beginning of this season in the Chinese calendar is Li Xia 立夏, or translated as Summer Begins.

The three pentads of this solar terms are : 

一候蝼蝈鸣; In the first pentad - the crickets are chirping
二候蚯蚓出; In the second pentad, the earthworms appear
三候王瓜生。 In the third pentad, the "wang gua" (Trichosanthes is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines.) grows.

A pentad is made up of 5 days.

In South East Asia, the monsoons have cleared and it is a "high season" period for beach resorts. In Europe and Northern USA, the weather has warmed up and their summer begins later in July and August. 

Feng Shui 2012 - Changeover of Annual Qi

While the Chinese community all over the world celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year on January 23rd, it is technically still the year of the Metal Rabbit before 4 February 2012. There are 2 calendars that are used in the Chinese calendar systems - the Solar calendar and the Lunar calendar. 

The Lunar calendar is based on the movements of the moon around the earth, and hence is calculated based on the earth's shadow on the moon. The Sun's light is involved and it should be called the Luni-Solar calendar. Each lunar month is about 29-30 days and so the resulting shortfall when compared to the western Gregorian calendar of 365 days, creates first day of the Chinese Lunar year falling on different dates through the years. In some years, the shortfall is compensated by having double months in a year. In 2012, the “闰” month is the 4th lunar month, and so we have double 4th lunar months. 

The Solar calendar is based on the movements of the earth around the sun, and hence it is calculated based on the sun's shadow on earth. This has been mapped in ancient China using the Gnomon stick. Based on the method of measuring the sun shadow, the ancient Chinese were able to accurately capture the seasonal changes in the country, and has mapped out 24 divisions of a year - called the 24 solar terms (节气). Jie marks the beginning of the month while Qi marks the middle of the month. 

The Solar calendar matches closer to the western Gregorian calendar's 365 days and so the first day of the Solar year is always in February around 4th, 5th or 6th. 

You might like to know that the actual Ba Zi system and the Flying Stars Feng Shui are all based on the Solar Calendar. The Zi Wei Dou Shu method is based on the Lunar calendar. 

As such, the monthly changeover of Jie Qi follows the Solar Calendar. The first day of the Solar Calendar is Li Chun (Spring Begins) and it is on 4th of February, 2012. This the day when the year pillar changes from Xin Mao (Yin Metal Rabbit) to Ren Chen (Yang Water Dragon). 

4 Feb 2011

4 Feb 2012

Solar Terms : Li Xia or Summer Begins June 6th, 2011

The changeover date for the seasons in the Chinese Solar Calendar falls on the 6th of May this year; from Spring to Summer. The Solar Term for this day is "Summer Begins" or Li Xia.

As early as 239 bc, this date has been recorded in Chinese history, as a marker of the beginning of the season of summer in the 4 seasons of a year. According to the standards set up by the weatherman, summer is considered to have arrived when the average temperature reaches 22 degrees Celsius and above.

Photo: Chua Chee Hiang

The three pentads of this solar terms are :

In the first pentad - the crickets are chirping
In the second pentad, the earthworms appear
In the third pentad, the "wang gua" (Trichosanthes is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines.) grows.

Photo: Chua Chee Hiang

Photo: Chua Chee Hiang


Solar Term - Jie Qi for the 3rd month of the Chinese Solar Calendar, Qing Ming

The 3rd Solar month of 2011 is upon us, and it lands on the 5th of April, 2011, at Wu hour (or Horse shi chen). This is the 5th of 24 Solar Terms in a year. The name for this month marker day is Qing Ming, and it has been translated as:

Clear and Bright, or
Pure Brightness

This is the 3rd and last month of Spring in the Chinese Solar Calendar, being the Chen month. 辰。For 2011, it is actually 壬辰, which is the Tian Gan Di Zi for 2012 (Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch combination). One has to wonder if the "predictors" are going to watch this month as a clue for analysing 2012?

There are many traditional Chinese customs associated with this solar month, and the most famous one that everyone associate this month with is tomb sweeping.

picture source: www.baidu.com

After the cold weather of the past winter, the earth is slowly springing back into life. During the cold weather, most people have avoided being out for too long to minimise exposure to the cold. As the warmer weather arrives, the hills are green again, and people start venturing out. So another associated activity of this time is called 踏青, or "Stepping on Green".

On the way to the ancestral graves, people have to walk over hills that have return to its greenery under the clear blue skies.

Tomb sweeping and ancestral worship starts from Qing Ming day, as families make their way to cemeteries to make offerings to their ancestral graves and clean up the graves. In Singapore, due to the lack of land area allocated for land burials, most people make their way to columbariums for the Qing Ming festival, multi-storey concrete buildings housing the ash remains in rows and rows of concrete niches.  (Not quite the same feeling isn't it?). 

Another social custom of Qing Ming month is kite flying in China, again to do with the seasonal good warmer weather and clear skies. 

Also, the Chinese has always been "green", as Qing Ming is also the month for tree planting, but for a type of tree called the Willow tree - 插柳. The Willow tree has great survival ability and just planting a stalk or branch in the ground and soon it becomes a tree providing shade. There is a popular Chinese saying that says:

有心栽花 花不发,无心插柳柳成荫。”

Literally translated, it means one has the heart to plant flowers (flowering plant), but the flowers just will not blossom, one didn't have the heart (or intention) to plant the Willow but the Willow has now turned into a shady tree. It is a Chinese expression to describe the way things don't always happen as what we would have intended, but instead something else unexpected comes along. Sometimes when we put our hearts in certain business relationships or friendships, it just did not happen; but instead something else unexpected comes along. 

The 3 pentads of Qing Ming are:

In the first pentad (of five days) the Tung Tree flowers (Black Mangrove or River Mangrove)
In the second pentad, the field rats (that like shade) have disappeared
In the third pentad, the rainbow appears

Photo: a double rainbow as captured while travelling from Queenstown, New Zealand on my honeymoon after my civil union ceremony in 2005.
Photo copyright: Chua Chee Hiang

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