At the "Summer Solstice Point", the sun shines almost directly on the Tropic of Cancer when the sun altitude arrives the highest in the northern hemisphere at noon. On this day, the northern hemisphere gets its longest daytime and shortest night in a year. From this day on, the earth gets into hot summer, and everything grows the most vigorously at this time. In the ancient times, people also called the Summer Solstice “Ri Beizhi” which means the sun arrives to the northernmost latitude on earth. After the summer solstice, the sun gradually moves southwards, so the day time in the northern hemisphere becomes shorter and shorter while the night becomes longer and longer day by day.
Three phenological phenomena of the Summer Solstice
The First Phenological Phenomenon: Deer Shed Their Horns.
The ancients believed that although elk and deer belong to the same family, they are different in the aspect of Yin and Yang. Facing forward, the deer’s horns represents Yang. With the coming of the Summer Solstice, the Yin starts to grow while the Yang declines. So the deer’s horns which represent Yang begin to fall off.
The Second Phenological Phenomenon: Cicadas Begin to Sing.
Cicada singing is one of the most important sounds in summer. The summer cicadas are also called Zhiliao. The male cicadas will vibrate the abdomens and sing songs after the summer solstice.
The Third Phenological Phenomenon: The Born of Pinellia Ternata.
Pinellia ternata is a kind of wild medicinal herb. It is named Pinellia ternata because it grows in the mid summer.
The Customs of Summer Solstice
Eating noodles: A folk proverb goes “After eating the summer solstice noodles, the daytime gets shorter at the speed of two to three minutes per day.” in which the long noodles is compared to the long daytime of the summer solstice.And summer solstice is also the time that farmers finish harvesting their wheat. So eating noodles during the summer solstice also means tasting the newly harvested wheat.
Eating the amaranthus: In some areas of China, on the day of Summer Solstice, many underage nephews and nieces go to their mothers’ parents’ home for dinner. And the uncles from their mothers’ sides will serve them with dishes made from amaranthus and gourds. Since there is a saying---After eating amaranth, you won't suffer from heatstroke. After eating gourd, you will have strong legs.
Bamboo weaving crafts about the Summer Solstice from students in Shuangliu Art & Sports Middle School