Solar term

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(Twenty-four) solar terms
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese (二十四)節氣
Simplified Chinese (二十四)节气
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese (hai mươi bốn) tiết khí
Korean name
Hangul (이십사)절기
Hanja (二十四)節氣
Japanese name
Kanji (二十四)節気
Hiragana (にじゅうし)せっき

A solar term is any of 24 points in traditional East Asian lunisolar calendars that matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon. The points are spaced 15° apart along the ecliptic and are used by lunisolar calendars to stay synchronized with the seasons, which is crucial for agrarian societies. The solar terms are also used to calculate intercalary months in East Asian calendars; which month is repeated depends on the position of the sun at the time.

Solar terms originated in China, then spread to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan, countries in the East Asian cultural sphere. This is exhibited by the fact that traditional Chinese, Hanja, and Kanji characters for most of the solar terms are identical.

Because the Sun's speed along the ecliptic varies depending on the Earth-Sun distance, the number of days that it takes the Sun to travel between each pair of solar terms varies slightly throughout the year. Each solar term is divided into three pentads (候 hou), so there are 72 pentads in a year. Each pentad consists of five, rarely six, days, and are mostly named after phenological (biological or botanical) phenomena corresponding to the pentad.

List of solar terms[edit]

Longi-
tude
Usual
translation
Chinese
name ¹
Korean
name ²
Japanese
name
Vietnamese
name
Date ³ Remark
315° start of spring 立春
lìchūn
입춘(S)/립춘(N) (立春)
ipchun/ripchun
立春
risshun
Lập xuân Feb 4  
330° rain water 雨水
yǔshuǐ
우수 (雨水)
usu
雨水
usui
Vũ thủy Feb 19 more rain than snow
345° awakening of insects 驚蟄 (惊蛰)
jīngzhé
경칩 (驚蟄)
gyeongchip
啓蟄
keichitsu
Kinh trập Mar 6 lit. awakening of hibernating insects. See the note at Chinese calendar#Solar term.
vernal equinox 春分
chūnfēn
춘분 (春分)
chunbun
春分
shunbun
Xuân phân Mar 21 lit. spring division (or center)
15° clear and bright 清明
qīngmíng
청명 (清明)
cheongmyeong
清明
seimei
Thanh minh Apr 5 time for tending graves
30° grain rain 穀雨 (谷雨)
gǔyǔ
곡우 (穀雨)
gogu
穀雨
kokuu
Cốc vũ Apr 20 lit. grain rain: rain helps grain grow
45° start of summer 立夏
lìxià
입하(S)/립하(N) (立夏)
ipha(S)/ripha(N)
立夏
rikka
Lập hạ May 6  
60° grain full 小滿 (小满)
xiǎomǎn
소만 (小滿)
soman
小満
shōman
Tiểu mãn May 21 grains are plump
75° grain in ear 芒種 (芒种)
mángzhòng
망종 (芒種)
mangjong
芒種
bōshu
Mang chủng Jun 6 lit. awns (beard of grain) grow
90° summer solstice 夏至
xiàzhì
하지 (夏至)
haji
夏至
geshi
Hạ chí Jun 21 lit. summer extreme (of sun's height)
105° minor heat 小暑
xiǎoshǔ
소서 (小暑)
soseo
小暑
shōsho
Tiểu thử Jul 7  
120° major heat 大暑
dàshǔ
대서 (大暑)
daeseo
大暑
taisho
Đại thử Jul 23  
135° start of autumn 立秋
lìqiū
입추(S)/립추(N)(立秋)
ipchu(S)/ripchu(N)
立秋
risshū
Lập thu Aug 8  
150° limit of heat 處暑 (处暑)
chǔshǔ
처서 (處暑)
cheoseo
処暑
shosho
Xử thử Aug 23 lit. dwell in heat
165° white dew 白露
báilù
백로 (白露)
baengno(S)/baengro(N)
白露
hakuro
Bạch lộ Sep 8 condensed moisture makes dew white
180° autumnal equinox 秋分
qiūfēn
추분 (秋分)
chubun
秋分
shūbun
Thu phân Sep 23 lit. autumn division (or center)
195° cold dew 寒露
hánlù
한로 (寒露)
hallo
寒露
kanro
Hàn lộ Oct 8  
210° frost descent 霜降
shuāngjiàng
상강 (霜降)
sanggang
霜降
sōkō
Sương giáng Oct 23 appearance of frost and descent of temperature
225° start of winter 立冬
lìdōng
입동(S)/립동(N)(立冬)
ipdong(S)/ripdong(N)
立冬
rittō
Lập đông Nov 7  
240° minor snow 小雪
xiǎoxuě
소설 (小雪)
soseol
小雪
shōsetsu
Tiểu tuyết Nov 22  
255° major snow 大雪
dàxuě
대설 (大雪)
daeseol
大雪
taisetsu
Đại tuyết Dec 7  
270° winter solstice 冬至
dōngzhì
동지 (冬至)
dongji
冬至
tōji
Đông chí Dec 22 lit. winter extreme (of sun's height)
285° minor cold 小寒
xiǎohán
소한 (小寒)
sohan
小寒
shōkan
Tiểu hàn Jan 6  
300° major cold 大寒
dàhán
대한 (大寒)
daehan
大寒
daikan
Đại hàn Jan 20  
  1. Simplified Chinese characters are shown in parentheses if they differ from the Traditional Chinese characters.
  2. Hanja is indicated in parentheses.
  3. Date can vary within a ±1 day range.

The "Song of Solar Terms" (Chinese: 節氣歌; pinyin: jiéqìgē) is used to ease the memorization of jiéqì:

Regional note[edit]

In Japan, the term Setsubun (節分) originally referred to the eves of Risshun (立春, 315°, the beginning of Spring) Rikka (立夏, 45°, the beginning of Summer), Risshū (立秋, 135°, the beginning of Autumn), and Rittō (立冬, 225°, the beginning of Winter), but currently mostly refers to the day before Risshun. The name of each solar term also refers to the period of time between that day and the next solar term, or 1/24th of a year.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]