Heat Ceasing – Chùshǔ 处暑
Chùshǔ 处暑 – Heat Ceasing

Heat Ceasing – Chùshǔ 处暑

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. This is often referred to as the farmer’s calendar.

On August 24th, 2022, we entered the period of Chùshǔ 处暑, also known as ‘Heat Ceasing’ or ‘End of Heat’. Chùshǔ is the fourteenth solar term and the second node of autumn. It occurs annually on August 24th and marks the end of the hottest time of the year and the harvest lying ahead. Chùshǔ will see the arrival of cooler weather in the mornings and at night, though the afternoons still remain warm.

August 22nd marked the Hungry Ghost or Zhongyuan Festival 中元节 in many East Asian countries. According to legend, this is when the gates of the underworld are open, and hungry ghosts (Gui) are free to roam the earth in search of food and take revenge on those who have misbehaved. It is also a time in Taoist, Buddhist, and Chinese Folk traditions to remember loved ones we have lost.

Below are some helpful health cultivation tips for Chùshǔ:

  • During Chùshǔ, one should consume foods that moisten the body and supplement Qi: lychee, pears, apples, grapes, etc. Gentle nourishment is vital in avoiding excess and stagnation in the body during this time.
  • One should avoid spicy foods due to their drying effect and risk of increased sweating. Sour foods such as pickled vegetables, vinegar, and plums can help astringe and minimize fluid loss through sweating.
  • Incorporate duck into your diet. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), duck has a ‘cooling’ nature and nourishes Yin. Across China, it is a folk tradition to consume duck during Chùshǔ. There are many recipes for cooking duck: roast duck, cooked duck with lemon, smoked duck with walnut dressing and sautéed duck with ginger shoots. Furthermore, duck meat is said to benefit the skin during the dryest of autumn days.
  • During Chùshǔ, we see a movement from the height of Yang towards Yin. Therefore, one should start to go to bed earlier. Taking a nap when needed and engaging in moderate exercise can be very helpful. Remember, as the natural external environment transitions from Summer (Yang) to Winter (Yin), it is essential that we balance and complement our internal environment by mirroring this within our bodies through more sleep.


The Beginning of Spring
The 24 Solar Terms

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