Children in Lianyungang, Jiangsu display painted eggs in celebration of the spring equinox. [Photo: VCG]
This year, the Spring Equinox falls on Mar. 21, right in the middle of the northern hemisphere’s spring. After the Spring Equinox, the weather gets warmer and plants begin to grow anew. In China, there are multiple ways to celebrate this traditional solar term.
1. Offering sacrifices to the Sun god
Offering sacrifices to the Sun god is an important ceremony that has been handed down from generation to generation since the Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 B.C.). Ritan Park in Beijing used to be the place for the imperial family to hold this ritual on the day of the Spring Equinox during the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1616 – 1912) dynasties.
China has a tradition of balancing eggs on the day of Spring Equinox. This tradition can be traced back to 4,000 years ago. People balance eggs to celebrate the Spring Equinox and welcome the coming of spring. In some places, people paint on the eggs with multiple colors and hold egg-balancing competitions.
3. Flying kites
Kite flying is a popular outdoor activity during the Spring Equinox.
4. Rewarding farm cattle
Rewarding farm cattle is especially popular in the south Yangtze River regions. When the Spring Equinox is close, farm cattle start their work in the fields. People reward the cattle with glutinous rice balls. Moreover, some people have a tradition of giving offerings to birds to show their gratefulness for their birdsong that marks the beginning of spring, and as a form of praying for a bountiful harvest for the coming year.