Grain Rain – Gǔyǔ 谷雨
In ancient China, 24 solar terms, or Jiéqì, existed to guide farmers in agricultural affairs and farming activities throughout the year—each of these periods lasting approximately 15 days. The Jiéqì are based on the sun’s position in the zodiac and reflect changes in climate, agricultural production, natural phenomena and other aspects of living.
Today (April 21st) is Gǔyǔ 谷雨, also known as ‘Grain Rain’. Gǔyǔ is the sixth solar term, which occurs annually c. April 21st. According to an old Chinese saying, “Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) signals the end of snow while ‘Grain Rain’ signals the end of frost”. The arrival of ‘Grain Rain’ signifies the end of cold weather, a rise in temperature and rapid growth—the continued ascension of yang qi. As the last solar term in spring, Gǔyǔ brings a marked increase in air humidity and rainfall, so the grains grow more rapidly. In traditional Chinese medicine, this heat and humidity may cause discomfort for individuals suffering from damp-heat conditions; for example, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, inflammation, sciatica, skin conditions, digestive problems, etc.
With our bodies existing as a microcosm of the world surrounding us, health care should focus on following nature’s progression. In southern China, it is customary for people to pick tea on the day of ‘Grain Rain’. Drinking such a spring tea can remove excess heat and dampness (humidity) from within the body. Additionally, it is said to prevent bad luck and benefit the eyes.
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