二十四节气之民俗活动 24 Solar Terms: Traditional Activities

by Qianyi Gao, Confucius Institute at Saint Mary’s University  供稿: 圣玛丽大学孔子学院  高倩艺


立春时节,人们泥塑一头牛鞭打它,以期播种顺利,叫鞭春牛。有的地方人们对泥牛用力鞭打,直至把它打碎。这时围观的群众会一拥而上,抢得泥牛的一块土块,带回去把它埋到自家的地里。人们相信这春牛的土块 能够保佑牲畜健康以及农事顺利。

立夏时节,人们要称体重。据说称过体重,能够降低夏天生病的概率。还有一项有趣的活动——主要是孩子们玩的——“斗蛋”。在一堆煮熟的鸡蛋中挑出蛋壳最结实的,拿去跟别的水煮蛋顶。如果能让另一只出现裂 痕,而自己的完好无损,就可以去找下一个再顶。一轮下来,蛋壳最硬的那只鸡蛋胜出。



数千年的农业社会,没有网络,没有电视,农业技术落后,节气的仪式和活动是与自然、与神交信的大事;丰收还是歉收都由大自然,或他们心中的水神、土地神以及掌管牲畜的神们决定,因而人们非常热情、虔诚地进 行这些活动。当今科技发展了,虽然不再像过去那样依赖各路神灵,崇尚、尊重自然的中国人依然重视二十四节气。特别是关系到衣食等于健康和生命相关的事项时,很多人还是要讲究一番的。鉴于此,下一期将介绍 二十四节气食俗。(完)


Activities associated with each solar term are the most fascinating from ancient China. Featuring seasonal, physical and spiritual characteristics, these activities were considered a vital part of the society among both the imperial courts and the commoners. While the imperial courts dominated formal ceremonies, the common citizens developed their own versions of celebration. This article highlights some of the most interesting activities among the common citizens at the beginning of each season.

During the Start of Spring, people whipped clay cows to pray for a good year of farming. In some places, people wouldn’t stop whipping until the clay shattered as they believed taking home a piece of clay cows would bring the family health and wealth for the entire year.

During the Start of Summer, people measured their body weight to reduce the risk of getting sick. During this period of time, another special activity was “egg push” where children were to pick boiled eggs with thickest shells and push against other eggs. When the egg shell cracked, the winner egg continued to fight until there was no egg left to fight.

Women and children wore a special leaf in their hair to welcome the Start of Autumn. Those who had measured their weight during the Start of Summer would measure their weight again to observe whether they had suffered weight loss caused by the summer heat. Nowadays, people eat special foods and take herbed baths.

The Start of Winter was when people held sacrificial rites to honour the deceased. During the rites, people ingeniously prepare everyday necessities made with paper and burn them in fire for the deceased. In south-eastern China, villagers held ceremonies to thank the gods by making rice wine. Many people would take a special bath, wishing for good health during the harsh winter season.

Centuries ago when people had no internet, TV or adequate scientific knowledge, commoners particularly enjoyed celebrating festivals. They participated in celebration with great enthusiasm and earnestness. They believed that the festivals were gifts of gods, or more accurately, the gods of nature. They believed that harvest was a result of the gods being happy and disaster was brought by displeased gods. In modern days, although many customs have been replaced by science and technology, the Chinese people continue to pay respects to nature and the twenty-four solar terms traditions inherited from their ancestors.

In the next issue, we will introduce food and diet associated with the twenty-four terms.

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