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[1] 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;[2] which month is repeated depends on the position of the sun at the time.

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.

Solar terms originated in China, then spread to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan, countries in the East Asian cultural sphere. Although each term was named based on the seasonal changes of climate in North China Plain, peoples living in the different climates still use it with no changes.[3] This is exhibited by the fact that traditional Chinese, Hanja, and Kanji characters for most of the solar terms are identical.

On December 1, 2016, 24 Solar Terms were listed as UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage.[4]

List of solar terms[edit]

Sun's
ecliptical
longitude
Chinese
name ¹
Korean
name ²
Vietnamese
name
Japanese
name
Gregorian
Date ³
Reference for
Month Intercalating
Remark[5]
270° 冬至
dōngzhì
동지 (冬至)
dongji
Đông chí 冬至
tōji
Dec 22 11th month midpoint winter maximum (solstice)
285° 小寒
xiǎohán
소한 (小寒)
sohan
Tiểu hàn 小寒
shōkan
Jan 6 12th month initial a bit frigid
300° 大寒
dàhán
대한 (大寒)
daehan
Đại hàn 大寒
daikan
Jan 20 12th month midpoint most frigid
315° 立春
lìchūn
입춘(S)/립춘(N) (立春)
ipchun/ripchun
Lập xuân 立春
risshun
Feb 4 1st month initial spring begins
330° 雨水
yǔshuǐ[6]
우수 (雨水)
usu
Vũ thủy 雨水
usui
Feb 19 1st month midpoint more rain than snow
345° 驚蟄 (惊蛰)
jīngzhé[7]
경칩 (驚蟄)
gyeongchip
Kinh trập 啓蟄
keichitsu
Mar 6 2nd month initial hibernating insects awaken
春分
chūnfēn
춘분 (春分)
chunbun
Xuân phân 春分
shunbun
Mar 21 2nd month midpoint spring center (equinox)
15° 清明
q
īngmíng[8]
청명 (清明)
cheongmyeong
Thanh minh 清明
seimei
Apr 5 3rd month initial clear and bright
30° 穀雨 (谷雨)
gǔyǔ[9]
곡우 (穀雨)
gogu
Cốc vũ 穀雨
kokuu
Apr 20 3rd month midpoint wheat rain
45° 立夏
lìxià
입하(S)/립하(N) (立夏)
ipha(S)/ripha(N)
Lập hạ 立夏
rikka
May 6 4th month initial summer begins
60° 小滿 (小满)
xiǎomǎn
소만 (小滿)
soman
Tiểu mãn 小満
shōman
May 21 4th month midpoint creatures plentish
75° 芒種 (芒种)
mángzhòng
망종 (芒種)
mangjong
Mang chủng 芒種
bōshu
Jun 6 5th month initial seeding millet
90° 夏至
xiàzhì
하지 (夏至)
haji
Hạ chí 夏至
geshi
Jun 21 5th month midpoint summer maximum (solstice)
105° 小暑
xiǎoshǔ
소서 (小暑)
soseo
Tiểu thử 小暑
shōsho
Jul 7 6th month initial a bit sweltering
120° 大暑
dàshǔ
대서 (大暑)
daeseo
Đại thử 大暑
taisho
Jul 23 6th month midpoint most sweltering
135° 立秋
lìqiū
입추(S)/립추(N)(立秋)
ipchu(S)/ripchu(N)
Lập thu 立秋
risshū
Aug 8 7th month initial autumn begins
150° 處暑 (处暑)
chǔshǔ
처서 (處暑)
cheoseo
Xử thử 処暑
shosho
Aug 23 7th month midpoint heat withdraws
165° 白露
báilù
백로 (白露)
baengno(S)/baengro(N)
Bạch lộ 白露
hakuro
Sep 8 8th month initial dews
180° 秋分
qiūfēn
추분 (秋分)
chubun
Thu phân 秋分
shūbun
Sep 23 8th month midpoint autumn center (equinox)
195° 寒露
hánlù
한로 (寒露)
hallo
Hàn lộ 寒露
kanro
Oct 8 9th month initial cold dews
210° 霜降
shuāngjiàng
상강 (霜降)
sanggang
Sương giáng 霜降
sōkō
Oct 23 9th month midpoint frost
225° 立冬
lìdōng
입동(S)/립동(N)(立冬)
ipdong(S)/ripdong(N)
Lập đông 立冬
rittō
Nov 7 10th month initial winter begins
240° 小雪
xiǎoxuě
소설 (小雪)
soseol
Tiểu tuyết 小雪
shōsetsu
Nov 22 10th month midpoint snows a bit
255° 大雪
dàxuě
대설 (大雪)
daeseol
Đại tuyết 大雪
taisetsu
Dec 7 11th month initial snows a lot
  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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Until 1644(Chinese Empire and its tributary states) or 1844(Japan) a period of time of the solar year itself had been equally divided instead of the spatial zodiac.
  2. ^ When a lunar month's end does not reach a midpoint of the solar terms, it is regarded as the last month's intercalary one instead of the true "next" month. It is called 歳中閏月法 lit."midpoint intercalating system".
  3. ^ なぜずれる? 二十四節気と季節感 (Why off-point? -solar terms and our real feeling of the seasons) An example in Japan. It compares the climate of Taiyuan with that of Tokyo and Kyoto. In maritime Japanese islands difference of the seasonal gap length is the main problem. In subtropical or tropical regions including southern china climate difference is more serious.
  4. ^ "An intro to China's 24 Solar Terms". Global Times. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  5. ^ literal meaning based on the climate of North China
  6. ^ the Yushi and Jingzhe have been exchanged by Liu Xin in Han dynasty.
  7. ^ the Jingzhe and Yushi have been exchanged by Liu Xin in Han dynasty.
  8. ^ the Qingmin and Guyu have been exchanged by Liu Xin in Han dynasty.
  9. ^ the Guyu and Qingmin have been exchanged by Liu Xin in Han dynasty.

External links[edit]