The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Awakening of Insects(Chinese: 惊蛰) falls on Mar 5 this year.
It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 345° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 360°.
More often, it refers to the day when the Sun is exactly at a celestial longitude of 345°.
In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around March 5 and ends around March 20.
Traditional Chinese folklore says that during Jingzhe, thunderstorms will wake up the hibernating insects, which implies that the weather is getting warmer.
Awakening of Insects signals a rise in temperature and increased rain fall. As the third solar term in the lunar year, its name alludes to the fact that animals sleeping in winter are awakened by spring thunder and that the earth begins to come back to life. It is the key time for spring agricultural activities.
Old Chinese sayings such as “Once the Awakening of Insects comes, spring ploughing never rests” reveal the importance of this term to farmers.
Offering sacrifices to the white tiger
According to ancient Chinese folklore, a white tiger is the creature that brings quarrels and disputes.
When practicing this old custom, people draw the white tiger on paper, and then smear pig’s blood and pork on its mouth. This means the tiger is fed so that it would not bite people, avoiding bad luck and conflict.
People often assign a specific “witch” (usually an elderly woman) to “beat the villains”. They use paper cut in the shape of humans to represent “villains” in their lives and the “witch” would use shoes or other tools to hit the paper to expel bad luck.
to expel bad luck：驱除厄运
Eating pears around the Awakening of Insects is a widely-practiced custom in China. As the weather gets warmer and the air becomes dry, people tend to feel their mouths are parched and tongues dry, which can cause colds or coughs. A pear is sweet, juicy and cold, moistening the lungs to arrest a cough. Therefore, pears are highly recommended during the Awakening of Insects.
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