Calendar for Chinese 24 Solar Terms: Spring Equinox



The Spring Equinox, the fourth of China’s 24 solar terms, falls on March 20 this year. The Equinox signals the equal length of the day and night. After the Equinox, the sun moves northwards, resulting in gradually longer days in the Northern Hemisphere and longer nights in the Southern Hemisphere.


Egg-standing game Standing an egg upright is a popular game across the country during the Spring Equinox. It is an old custom that dates back 4,000 years. People practice this tradition to celebrate the coming of spring. It is believed that if someone can make the egg stand, they will have good luck in the future.

To reward the farm cattle This practice is widespread in the southern area of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. As the Spring Equinox comes, farm work starts and both the farmers and the cattle become busy. Farmers will reward animals with sticky rice balls to express their gratitude. Meanwhile, people will make a sacrifice to the birds, to thank them for bringing warnings and also in the hope that they won’t eat the grain later in the year.

To glue the beak of sparrows According to the custom, peasants will eat tangyuan, sweet dumplings stuffed with black sesame paste. Meanwhile, they will place some unstuffed tangyuan on sticks around the crops, for the sparrows. This way, the farmers hope the sparrows will eat the tangyuan and get sticky beaks, leaving them unable to eat the crops.

Traditional food

Lyudagun According to the old tradition of Beijing locals, when the Spring Equinox falls, people are supposed to eat Lyudagun to avoid evil and pray for good fortune. Lyudagun is made from millet flour or sticky rice stuffed with red bean paste. The Lyudagun is then rolled in sesame seeds, as the seeds look just like a cloud of dust raised by a donkey rolling on the ground. Thus, Lyudagun is known as “Rolling Donkey.” Spring vegetables Eating spring vegetables during the Spring Equinox is a common custom in many regions of China. Spring vegetables refer to wild edible leafy greens. In China, people believe that eating wild greens helps them stay healthy.

Sun cake During the Spring Equinox, Beijing locals traditionally offer sacrifices to the God of Sun. The “sun cake,” a round cake made from wheat and sugar, serves as the main offering. During the Spring Equinox, locals will buy sun cakes and place them to the center-right of the table, to express their gratitude to the God of Sun.