A solar term is a period of about two weeks and is based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each of the year’s 24 solar terms, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.
Solar Term: Cold Dew
2021 Date: Oct. 8–22
“Cold Dew” is the 17th solar term. It begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 195 degrees and ends when it reaches the longitude of 210 degrees.
It might sound confusing that there was a White Dew in early September. What’s the difference between White Dew and Cold Dew? White dew is the reflection of the increasing moisture in the air and looks misty, while the temperature is not yet so cold; and cold dew refers to when the temperature has dropped dramatically so it stays in water droplet form, or even becomes frost in the northern part of the world.
Markers of Cold Dew
Several events mark the passage of Cold Dew: Geese migrate south for warmer weather, clam season arrives, and chrysanthemums bloom yellow.
It was during this term that Chinese people once celebrated the Double Ninth Festival, as first recorded more than 1,700 years ago. It was a time when people believed they should leave populated cities and hike high into the hills, as ancient Chinese people believed this was the time when things reached an extreme, including viruses or bad fortune.
The idea behind it is based on an ancient understanding of numerology. The number nine is, of course, the largest number between zero and nine; after nine, it goes back to zero, so it’s a risky moment and a time to review with humility. Also, according to the ancient Chinese prophetic Book of Changes, odd numbers belong to yang, while even numbers belong to yin. Thus, nine is the biggest number in yang, and double nine makes the power even stronger.
On the ninth day of the ninth month in the traditional Chinese calendar, ancient Chinese believed it was easy to attract bad things. Going hiking in the mountains and avoiding crowds was not just to avoid disease, but to show respect to heaven and to review one’s behaviors. October is also normally a peak season for flu and pandemics.
This year, the Double Ninth Festival comes a little bit later than normal, falling on Oct 14. But still, due to COVID-19 this year, we’d be wise to be careful and protect ourselves.
Traditionally, ancient Chinese people used water from deep wells to make wine and medicinal pills with seasonal herbs on the day of the Double Ninth Festival.
Living in Harmony With ‘Cold Dew’
Although we have to be careful with the flu and similar types of infections, we still want to enjoy some nice activities that can achieve the desired results. Here are some tips:
Drink lukewarm or room temperature water. It is particularly important to maintain good circulation and hydration, to keep the immune system functioning well. Then if a virus or bacterial infection hits, the body can eliminate it efficiently.
One should also cover the neck and chest to protect them from temperature changes.
If we get caught by rain at this time of year, we can use a hairdryer to dry the area. This trick can also work for those having respiratory or circulation problems; point the hairdryer at the center of the chest to warm it. Those who often suffer from neck pain, headache, or tensed shoulder can point it at the back of the neck. There are many important acupressure points there, and the center of our chest is particularly important to boost our immune function.
Seasonal Foods to Eat
The best foods to eat at this time include goji berries, ginkgo berries, white asparagus, yams, chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, white fish, chicken, rice, oatmeal, celery, soya milk, and coconut milk.
Beneficial oils for this period include eucalyptus, peppermint, cedarwood, niaouli, cypress, Roman chamomile, and German chamomile.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit LiaoMoreen.com.