Cold Dew and the Double Ninth Festival

Cold Dew is the 17th solar term. As such, it begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 195° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 210°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 195°. On the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around October 8 and ends around October 23. The weather gradually becomes cold during this period. Frost may happen in some parts of China. Due to the scarcity of cloudy days, sunshine is plentiful and there is an invigorating autumn climate.

There are three things to look forward to in the Cold Dew period: the first is that wild geese migrate southward; the second is that sparrows transform into clams; the third is that chrysanthemums are in full bloom.

Chrysanthemums are the iconic flower of Cold Dew. As the Double Ninth Festival approaches, drinking chrysanthemum wine is popular in some places. Therefore, the Double Ninth Festival is also called “The Chrysanthemum Festival.” According to ancient records, drinking the wine made with chrysanthemums, poria cocos and pine oleoresin grant people long lasting youth. Ascending a peak and enjoying chrysanthemums has become very important to the festival. On the first day of Cold Dew, people in ancient China often fetched water from wells to make wines, which they believed could nourish the five internal organs.

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