A solar term is a period of approximately two weeks based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. There are 24 solar terms in a year, which make up the traditional Chinese calendar system used to guide farming and everyday life. The calendar contributes to the ancient Chinese philosophy that living in accordance with nature will enable a harmonious life. This article series delves into each solar term and offers guidance on how to navigate the changes of season in order to live happier and healthier.
Solar term: Clear and Bright
2017 Date: April 4 to 19
Characteristics and Meaning: Of the 24 solar terms, three are festival dates. Clear and Bright is one of these—it is not only a solar term, but also a public holiday in many Asian countries.
During the Tang Dynasty in China, the emperor designated the three days prior to Clear and Bright for royalty and officials to hold ceremonies in honor of their ancestors. The local citizens were also given leave to sweep the tombs of their relatives, which became a holiday called Tomb Sweeping Day.
As the solar term’s moniker suggests, the weather is often clear and bright during this time, but there is also plenty of rainfall to wash away the dust and dullness of winter. With the rise of yang energy in all living beings during this solar term, the qi becomes clear and bright throughout the earth.
For farmers, this solar term is the best time to plant all types of root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or taro. Legend says that on the first day of Clear and Bright, if the wind comes from the south, it will be a good harvesting year. If the wind comes from the north, the produce might be not be of as good quality. If it rains on the first day of the solar term, there might be drought that year. If it is a clear day, the rainfall will be good throughout the year.
The ancient Chinese believed rainbows were the product of yin and yang energy meeting in balance, and that they could not appear if the energy was purely yang or yin. The solar term Clear and Bright is when rainbows first start showing up in the sky.
Impact on People: As the yang energy rises and accumulates in one’s body, it is traveling from the inside to the outside of the body. If one eats overly greasy or heat-containing foods, such as hot spices, it may overload the body and cause congestion. The excess heat may also trigger allergic reactions, blood pressure problems, or coughing.
Living in Harmony With the Season: During this time of year, people tend to have good appetites. But try not to overeat, and look to include more outdoor activities in your routine to help you lose any excess weight left over from winter. The sun is very mild and beneficial for health during this time of year, so get outside whenever possible.
Foods to Eat: Rice and most grains, melons, cucumber, barley, yam, and eggs. Avoid bamboo, mushrooms, wheat, seafood, and plants that grow in water—the nature of these foods is wet and can cause water retention in the body.
Cooking Method: Avoid grilled and deep-fried food. Slow cooking is best for this time—neither too hot, nor too spicy.
Herbs: Coriander, chamomile, marjoram, calendula, lavender, and rosemary.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a certified aromatherapist; former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia; group vice president of New Directions Australia; and founder of Ausganica, one of Australia’s leading makers of certified organic skincare and cosmetics. Visit Ausganica.com