Monday marks the beginning of Shuangjiang or “frost’s descent” in English, the 18th of 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar. It usually falls around October 23 and ends around November 7, making it the last term of autumn and signifying the last two weeks of the season.
By the time of Shuangjiang, most of the harvesting work is already completed in northern China. Even the most cold-resistant crops can no longer grow. Large swaths of the fields in the north are done for the season, and farmers are now able to enjoy a period of rest.
But in the south, the harvest is still in its heyday, as farmers have to take home the sweet potatoes before they are destroyed by the coming frost, while the winter wheat and oilseed rape need to be mothproofed.
Nearly all the tourist websites list the best sites for admiring the red maple leaves during this time, and many city tourist bureaus start to even issue official routes for the most picturesque views of the leaves.
Reveling in the view is an old tradition starting in ancient times. Du Mu, a well-known poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-904) depicted the mountainous scenery in a poem: “I stopped the coach as charmed by the maple woods; Frosted autumn leaves outshine February flowers in redness.”
The Double Ninth Festival also falls during the season, a festival for the elders. Going hiking in the highlands is part of the celebrations practiced by the ancient Chinese people.
Best time for adjusting to a nourishing lifestyle
It is said that Shuangjiang is the best time to adjust to a nourishing life, which reflects the belief that this is an important time to focus on health. “Keeping warm” becomes a top priority.
Persimmon is the favored fruit in many areas. The Chinese believe that permissions could not only keep off the coldness, but also strengthen the muscles and bones.
Other suggested fruits include apples, pears and bananas. Besides, honey, jelly fungus, chestnuts and sesames are believed to help supplement the necessary nutrition for the human body. On the protein side, chicken or mutton soup is believed to be good for the spleen and advised for the diet.