Editor’s note: The Twenty-four Solar Terms show the relationship between the universe, seasons, climate and agriculture, which is a unique creation by Chinese ancestors. Its establishment was closely associated with Chinese agricultural production. At the initial stage of highly subject to seasonal changes. Thus, the Twenty-four Solar Terms that can indicate the changes of seasons and climate came into being, and they were used to guide sowing, harvesting and other agricultural activities. To date, it has functioned as an indispensable tool to guide the agricultural production in China.
Minor Heat is the eleventh solar term in the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms. Minor Heat signifies the hottest period is coming but the extreme hot point has yet to arrive.
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.
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 poemSummer Fireflies a happy scene of children playing with fireflies in the woods at night.
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.
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.