Xiàzhì is the 10th solar term, and marks the summer solstice,[1] in the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar dividing a year into 24 solar terms.[2]

Literal meaning"summer's extreme"
Solar term
Term Longitude Dates
Lichun 315° 4–5 February
Yushui 330° 18–19 February
Jingzhe 345° 5–6 March
Chunfen 20–21 March
Qingming 15° 4–5 April
Guyu 30° 20–21 April
Lixia 45° 5–6 May
Xiaoman 60° 21–22 May
Mangzhong 75° 5–6 June
Xiazhi 90° 21–22 June
Xiaoshu 105° 7–8 July
Dashu 120° 22–23 July
Liqiu 135° 7–8 August
Chushu 150° 23–24 August
Bailu 165° 7–8 September
Qiufen 180° 23–24 September
Hanlu 195° 8–9 October
Shuangjiang 210° 23–24 October
Lidong 225° 7–8 November
Xiaoxue 240° 22–23 November
Daxue 255° 7–8 December
Dongzhi 270° 21–22 December
Xiaohan 285° 5–6 January
Dahan 300° 20–21 January

It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 90° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 105°. The word xiazhi most often refers specifically to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 90°. In the Gregorian calendar, this is around 21 June, and the Xiazhi period ends with the beginning of the next solar term, Xiaoshu, around 7 July.[1][3]

Xiazhi is considered the middle of the summer and the beginning of the hottest part of summer.[4][5] Although it was once celebrated with traditional customs, these customs have mostly died out, and Xiazhi is not observed much anymore.[4]

Pentads edit

Each solar term can be divided into three pentads () of about five days each: the first pentad (初候), second pentad (次候), and last pentad (末候).

Xiazhi's ones are:[6]

Separately from the pentads, the 15 days of Xiazhi were historically divided into three periods in a different way: a three-day initial period, a five-day middle period, and a seven-day final period.[4] If it rained at the end of any of these periods, this was considered to be a bad sign for the year's harvest.[4] If it did not rain at all during the 15-day Xiazhi period, this was considered a good sign for the harvest; if rain did fall, the most auspicious days for it to fall on were the first, fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth days of the period.[4]

History and traditional customs edit

Xiazhi is an ancient festival; records of its observance date back to the Han dynasty.[4] People celebrated Xiazhi simply by taking a few days off for eating and drinking.[4] Government officials in particular were able to rest for these days, while farmers still had work that needed to be done.[4]

In ancient China, Xiazhi was not as important a date as Dongzhi (the winter solstice, celebrated with the Dongzhi Festival), and its celebrations were less elaborate.[4] In the Song dynasty, according to the historian and government official Pang Yuanying [zh], Xiazhi was a three-day holiday; this is in contrast to Dongzhi, which was a weeklong holiday at the time.[4]

The Liang dynasty scholar Zong Lin [zh] wrote that on Xiazhi farmers should burn chrysanthemum leaves and sprinkle the ashes on their wheat plants as a form of natural disinfectant to prevent plant diseases or pests.[4]

The Xiazhi "Nine Nines Song [zh]" (九九歌; Jiǔ Jiǔ Gē), dating back at least to the Song dynasty, has multiple variations, one of which goes as follows:[4][6]

One nine, two nines, the fan doesn't leave your hand;
Three nines, twenty-seven, drinking water is as sweet as honey;
Four nines, thirty-six, wiping away sweat is like coming out of a bath;
Five nines, forty-five, yellow leaves dance above;
Six nines, fifty-four, cool off in a Buddhist temple;
Seven nines, sixty-three, look for the sheets at the bedside;
Eight nines, seventy-two, think about using a blanket;
Nine nines, eighty-one, every household makes charcoal;
Get ready for winter.


In the mid-20th century, the American sociologist Wolfram Eberhard wrote that "the ordinary citizen is hardly even aware" of Xiazhi celebrations, but that in the past, government officials did make sacrifices on this day.[7] According to Eberhard, it was formerly prohibited to light large fires or smelt iron on this day.[7]

In modern times, these traditional customs have largely been lost, and Xiazhi is generally ignored.[4] This is in contrast to the winter solstice festival, Dongzhi, which continues to be actively observed in modern times.[4]

Food edit

In much of China, it is traditional to eat noodles on Xiazhi; a popular saying says "jiaozi on Dongzhi; noodles on Xiazhi" (冬至饺子夏至面).[5] An alternative saying about Xiazhi foods goes "Dumplings for the first nine days, noodles for the second nine days, and pancake with eggs for the third nine days" (头伏饺子二伏面,三伏烙饼摊鸡蛋).[8]

Other Xiazhi foods vary by region: for instance in Taizhou, Zhejiang, it is traditional to eat maiyouzhi [zh] (麦油脂; màiyóuzhī; a kind of spring roll), yanggao (漾糕; yànggāo; a kind of small sticky cake), and dumplings.[9]

Date and time edit

Date and time (UTC),
by gregorian year from 2001 to 2023
Year Begin End
辛巳 2001-06-21 07:37 2001-07-07 01:06
壬午 2002-06-21 13:24 2002-07-07 06:56
癸未 2003-06-21 19:10 2003-07-07 12:35
甲申 2004-06-21 00:56 2004-07-06 18:31
乙酉 2005-06-21 06:46 2005-07-07 00:16
丙戌 2006-06-21 12:25 2006-07-07 05:51
丁亥 2007-06-21 18:06 2007-07-07 11:41
戊子 2008-06-20 23:59 2008-07-06 17:26
己丑 2009-06-21 05:45 2009-07-06 23:13
庚寅 2010-06-21 11:28 2010-07-07 05:02
辛卯 2011-06-21 17:16 2011-07-07 10:42
壬辰 2012-06-20 23:08 2012-07-06 16:40
癸巳 2013-06-21 05:03 2013-07-06 22:34
甲午 2014-06-21 10:51 2014-07-07 04:14
乙未 2015-06-21 16:37 2015-07-07 10:12
丙申 2016-06-20 22:34 2016-07-06 16:03
丁酉 2017-06-21 04:24 2017-07-06 21:50
戊戌 2018-06-21 10:07 2018-07-07 03:41
己亥 2019-06-21 15:54 2019-07-07 09:20
庚子 2020-06-20 21:43 2020-07-06 15:14
辛丑 2021-06-21 03:32 2021-07-06 21:05
壬寅 2022-06-21 09:13 2022-07-07 02:38
癸卯 2023-06-21 14:58 2023-07-07 08:30
Source: JPL Horizons On-Line Ephemeris System

Solstice edit

The solstices (as well as the equinoxes) mark the middle of the seasons in traditional East Asian calendars.

Here, the Chinese character / zhì (in pinyin) means "extreme", so the term "xiazhi", for the summer solstice, directly signifies the "zenith of summer".[6][8]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Stepanchuk, Carol (1991). Mooncakes and Hungry Ghosts: Festivals of China. San Francisco: China Books & Periodicals. ISBN 0-8351-2481-9.
  2. ^ Zhang, Peiyu; Hunag, Hongfeng (1994). "The Twenty-four Solar Terms of the Chinese Calendar and the Calculation for Them". Purple Mountain Observatory. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  3. ^ Yang, Dr Herong (10 January 2021). Chinese Calendar Algorithm - Year 1901 to 2100. HerongYang.com. p. 34. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n 中國節日的故事 [Stories of Chinese holidays] (in Chinese) (1st ed.). Taipei: 將門文物出版社. 2001. pp. 159–161. ISBN 957-755-300-1.
  5. ^ a b 夏文. "夏至吃面配菜出彩" [Eating noodles with side dishes is excellent for Xiazhi]. 人民网 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 26 May 2023. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  6. ^ a b c "夏至节气分三候 夏天竟然也有"数九"?" [The solar term of Xiazhi is divided into three pentads; summer also has "counting nines"?]. 中国气象科普网 (in Chinese). 22 June 2021. Archived from the original on 26 May 2023. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  7. ^ a b Eberhard, Wolfram (1952). "The dragon-boat festival". Chinese Festivals. New York: H. Wolff. p. 70.
  8. ^ a b Zou, Zeus (20 June 2022). "Solar Terms 101: Xiazhi, Summer Solstice and Summer PARTY Season". www.thebeijinger.com. Archived from the original on 27 May 2023. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  9. ^ 姚苗苗 (20 June 2022). "夏至将至 你家包扁食吗" [Xiazhi is around the corner: is your family making dumplings?]. 台州晚报 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 26 May 2023. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
Preceded by
Mangzhong (芒種)
Solar term (節氣) Succeeded by
Xiaoshu (小暑)