Frost's Descent

Updated:Oct 23,2021 10:59 AM CGTN


Frost’s descent, the 18th solar term of the year and the last solar term of autumn, begins on Oct. 23 this year.

Literally, it refers to the time when frost starts to descend across China, or “the dews were congealed into frost” due to the coldness, as recorded in ancient Chinese books.

An end and a new beginning

By the time of Shuangjiang, most of the harvesting work is already completed in northern China. Even the most cold-resistant crops can no longer grow. Large swaths of the fields in the north are done for the season, and farmers are now able to enjoy a period of rest.

But in the south, the harvest is still in its heyday, as farmers have to take home the sweet potatoes before they are destroyed by the coming frost, while the winter wheat and oilseed rape need to be mothproofed.

In south and north, after a year of farming, now it is time to plow the fields and prepare the soil for next year.

Enjoy a slice of the flaming red maple leaves

Autumn might be the most colorful season in China with the leaves turning from golden yellow to red. Activities like hiking become popular as people take in the bright red leaves.

Nearly all the tourist websites list the best sites for admiring the red maple leaves during this time, and many city tourist bureaus start to even issue official routes for the most picturesque views of the leaves.

Reveling in the view is an old tradition starting in ancient times. Du Mu, a well-known poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-904) depicted the mountainous scenery in a poem: “I stopped the coach as charmed by the maple woods; Frosted autumn leaves outshine February flowers in redness. 

The Double Ninth Festival also falls during the season, a festival for the elders. Going hiking in the highlands is part of the celebrations practiced by the ancient Chinese people.

Best time for adjusting to a nourishing lifestyle

It is said that Shuangjiang is the best time to adjust to a nourishing life, which reflects the belief that this is an important time to focus on health. “Keeping warm” becomes a top priority.

Persimmon is the favored fruit in many areas. The Chinese believe that permissions could not only keep off the coldness, but also strengthen the muscles and bones.

Other suggested fruits include apples, pears and bananas. Besides, honey, jelly fungus, chestnuts and sesames are believed to help supplement the necessary nutrition for the human body. On the protein side, chicken or mutton soup is believed to be good for the spleen and advised for the diet.

Shuangjiang, bringing the frost and freezing wind, is considered the last chapter of the autumn and the prelude to the coming winter.