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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

立夏 - Begin Summer

The Ancient Chinese used 24 solar terms to identify important agricultural phases, since the lunar calendar fluctuated every year. Farmers found the solar terms more reliable when scheduling their planting and harvesting, since the lunar calendar changes with the moon phases year by year.

Today marks the start of China's seventh solar term, 立夏 (LiXia), which literally translates as "begin summer." Seems a tad early to us Westerners, since our summer doesn't officially begin until June 20, the summer solstice.

Not to mention the fact that Weird Weather descended on North America this spring, creating snow and hail in April. Those of us who didn't experience those phenomena still lived through a particularly chilly, wet month. Hopefully it warms up... and soon.