Grain Buds, or Xiaoman, the 8th solar term of Chinese lunar calendar, falls on May 21 this year, marking the arrival of scorching summer and downpours. Grains are about to ripen, and other agricultural activities such as silk reeling also enter busy season. Silkworm rearing is a traditional byproduct for people in regions south of the Yangtze River. During the Grain Buds season, silkworms will have the urge to cocoon. People will prepare the spinning wheel for reeling silk. (Produced by People's Daily online)
As its name suggests, Grain Buds is the subtle period of time when summer grains and crops start to plump, but have not yet matured. The temperature gaps between the south and the north narrow down, and sufficient rainfall guarantees a bumper harvest.
Grain Buds is also a good season for eating loquat, a round and pale orange fruit with sweet yet slightly tart taste. The seasonal fruit is believed to help moisten the lungs and relieve cough.
The “Three Wheels” are starting to hum as Grain Buds gets closer. Waterwheel for irrigating the rice fields, spinning wheel for making silk products, and oil wheel for squeezing oil out of rapeseeds, all start to gather pace during this time of the year.