Major Heat, or Dashu, the 12th solar term of traditional Chinese lunar calendar, falls on July 22 this year. Most parts of China enter the hottest days of the year. On this day, people treat themselves with icy desserts and celebrate with festive activities. Ancient Chinese found that fireflies usually appeared during Major Heat. The twinkling creatures come out of eggs to illuminate the sky of summer nights like shining stars.
Sending the Major Heat ship is a folk tradition in Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province. In ancient times, fishermen send the boat loaded with sacrifice to the wharf in the pray of bumper harvest. Nowadays, it becomes a carnival for local villagers.
Grass jelly, Xiancaodong in Chinese, is a popular dessert during the hottest period. With a refreshing taste, the grass jelly made of a special herb can help quell summer heat and stimulate appetite.
Sweet lotus root stuffed with sticky rice and drizzled with Osmanthus fragrans syrup or honey is another seasonable dish in the south of the Yangtze River during the Major Heat. With this glutinous dessert and a pot of liquor, people row among the lotus pond to enjoy the summer delight.