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Chinese Solar Terms: Lichun, the Beginning of Spring

2016-06-02 14:49:00Share:

"Lichun", also named "Dachun", or "Striking Spring", is the first point of the 24 divisions of the solar year according to the traditional Chinese calendar, which is a formal declaration to mark the start of spring.

Chinese Solar Terms: Lichun, the Beginning of Spring


  In China, there is a folk tradition of sacrificing oxes on Lichun Day, which can date back to the Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago. It is not the actual slaughter of oxes, but used clay sculptures. On the eve of the Lichun, a tall and strong young man will play the role of “Mangshen, the God of the east, God of the spring and God of the grass and trees. He will beat the clay ox with a willow twig, surrounded by dancing groups of young men and women.


  Later, the ox sculpture was replaced by a painting of an ox on yellow paper, which was hung in homes to greet the spring. The Yellow paper represents the land, while the ox symbolizes farm work. The painting is called “spring ox”, which is also used to mark the days for farm work.


  In order to help digestion and prevent illnesses, People in north China have the tradition to eat spring pancakes and Spring rolls On Lichun day, which is called "yaochun," or "biting the spring."


  Eating spring pancake is more or less the same as eating the Peking Duck, which means you can put everything on the pancake, and make a roll. But its history went far beyond the Duck back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (316AD- 420AD), approximately 1600 years ago.

chinese spring pancake


spring pancake


  Hence, biting a spring pancake can not only bring you the whole prosperous spirit of spring but also a tangible feeling about being Chinese.


  “Chunjuan”, or Fried Spring Rolls is different from spring pancakes. The pancake is staple food but this is a snack. Its taste varies according to different preferences.


  It can be sweet or salty. Put simply, this is a thin pancake for wrapping up meat, vegetables, etc. Some suggest scrambled egg with leek–but some say just egg, or you can enjoy each of them. Generally speaking, it includes three must-haves: braised pork with soy sauce, stir-fried bean sprouts, and egg pancake.


  This food is a traditional snack which bears very auspicious meaning. Since it looks like gold bars, naturally people tend to link it with a symbol of wealth. Of course, the taste is also good.

The Imperial Gardens