Telling Chinese Stories, Developing Chinese Culture Grain in Ear of the 24 Solar Terms

When Midsummer arrives, it is also the time for farming. Grain in Ear, is the ninth of the twenty-four traditional Chinese solar terms. The word "ear" refers to the upper part of a grain plant, such as wheat, which contains the seeds. Both summer harvesting and summer planting take place at this time. A new round of farming begins with the harvest of winter wheat and then the planting of green rice. The song of the cicadas and sweet plum wine are also signs of this period.

Grain in Ear custom

  • Boiled Wine with plums

When the plums are ripe, it is a good time to cook and eat them. As most fresh plums are sour and astringent, they are difficult to eat directly and need to be processed, usually by boiling them. It is also popular to make plum wine, which has a refreshing taste.


  • Seedling protection

"安苗"an miao, meaning seedling protectionis a traditional agricultural activity in southern Anhui Province. It has been practised since the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Every year when Grain in Ear comes, people hold the sacrificial ceremony to pray for good harvests in autumn. They make different kinds of cakes from wheat flour and colour them with vegetable juice. The cakes are used as an offering to pray for good harvests and people's safety.

Literal reference:

Text : Li Xinhong

Photography: Li Rong

Poster: Yang Yi

Translation:Adina Alimu


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