Explore China's Culture: Six Things You May Not Know About Minor Heat Explore in China - People and Culture

Culture insider: Six things you may not know about Minor Heat


File Photo

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Minor Heat, (Chinese: ??), the 11th solar term of the year, begins on July 7 this year and ends on July 22.

Minor Heat signifies the hottest period is coming but the extreme hot point has yet to arrive.

In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But the solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through special foods, cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips that correspond with each term.

The following are 6 things you need to know about Minor Heat.


A thunderstorm struck Wuhan, Hubei province, August 18, 2013.[Photo by Zhou Guoqiang/asianewsphoto.com]

A season of storms, thunder and hail

Storms, thunder and hail often happen during Minor Heat, though in some years there might be droughts. One of the prevailing farming activities during Minor Heat is staying on top of flood control and drought relief.


A lotus flower in Fuyang, Anhui province, July 8, 2013. [Photo by Dai Wenxue/asianewsphoto.com]

A season for the lotus flower

In Minor Heat, high temperatures are good for the growth of the lotus flower. From Minor Heat to the Double Ninth Festival, the lotus flower is in full bloom, and always simple but elegant.


Fireflies. [File Photo]

Firefly season

Minor Heat is the season when fireflies become lively. Zhu Shuzhen, a woman of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), once described in her famous poem “Summer Fireflies” a happy scene of children playing with fireflies in the woods at night.


Cataloupe slices. [File photo]

Eating small melons

Minor Heat comes when all kinds of melons are being harvested. One custom in Nanjing, Jiangsu province has to do with enjoying small melons on the day of Minor Heat and having big melons on the day of Major Heat. Small and big melons normally refer to cantaloupes and watermelons.


Dumplings. [File photo]

Eating dumplings

Dumplings are the traditional and household food among Chinese. When the "dog day" comes, people tend to lose their appetites, and dumplings can refresh people’s feelings toward food.


[File photo]

Sunning clothes

During the Minor Heat period, with the longest amount of sunlight and the strongest sunlight radiation, many families hang their clothes out in the sun to prevent mildew.

The 24 solar terms are determined by changes in the sun's position in the zodiac during the year. They were first used in China and now are followed in many other parts of the world. In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. They also reflect China’s rich history through the seasonal festivals, special foods, cultural ceremonies, family gatherings and even healthy living tips that correspond with each solar term.

Here is a peek into the 24 terms in 2015.

Solar Terms



Start of Spring(立春)

Feb. 4

Spring begins.

Rain Water(雨水)


It begins to rain.

Awakening of Insects(惊蛰)

Mar. 6

Hibernating animalsawaken.

Spring Equinox(春分)


Day and night are equallylong.

Clear and Bright(清明)

Apr. 5

It is warm and bright.

Grain Rain(谷雨)

Apr. 20

Rainfall increases for grainto grow.

Start of Summer(立夏)

May 6

Summer begins.

Grain Buds(小满)

May 21

Seeds of summer cropsbegin to plump.

Grain in Ear(芒种)

Jun. 6

Wheat grows ripe.

Summer Solstice(夏至)

Jun. 22

The longest daylight hoursand the shortest night ofthe year.

Minor Heat(小暑)

Jul. 7

Heat sets in.

Major Heat(大暑)

Jul. 23

The hottest time of the of ayear begins.

Start of Autumn(立秋)

Aug 8

Autumn begins.

End of Heat(处暑)

Aug 23

Heat recedes.

White Dew(白露)

Sep. 8

Dew forms.

Autumn Equinox(秋分)

Sep. 23

The middle of autumncomes.

Cold Dew(寒露)

Oct. 8

Dew is very cold.

Frost's Descent(霜降)

Oct. 24

Frost descends.

Start of Winter(立冬)

Nov. 8

Winter begins.

Minor Snow(小雪)

Nov. 22

It begins to snow.

Major Snow(大雪)

Dec. 7

It snows heavily.

Winter Solstice(冬至)

Dec. 22

It has the shortest daylighthours and the longestnight of a year.

Minor Cold(小寒)

Jan 6

It is rather cold.

Major Cold(大寒)

Jan 20

The coldest time of theyear begins.


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