Chinese Name: 立春
English Name: Lichun; Beginning of Spring; Start of Spring
Date: February 3 (or 4, or 5)
Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 315°
Lichun 立春 is the first of the 24 Solar Terms二十四节气. Li 立 means “beginning”; Chun 春 (Spring) represents warmth and growth. Lichun literary means the Beginning of Spring.
The Beginning of Spring is the beginning of all things and the meaning of all regeneration, which means that a new cycle has been opened. In the traditional concept, the beginning of spring has the meaning of auspiciousness.
In nature, the most remarkable feature of Lichun is that everything begins to show signs of recovery, and nature is full of vitality.
Lichun is of great significance to the traditional farming society. Major celebrations such as worshipping gods and ancestors, praying for blessings, expelling evil spirits and disasters, eliminating the old and introducing the new, and welcoming the new year are all held on the spring day and before and after the Spring Festival. This series of festival activities not only constitute the frame of the first festival of future generations, but also its folk function remains to this day.
Interesting Date of Lichun
Lichun’s date is very special. Lichun is between February 3 and 5. February 4 is the most common, and February 3 and 5 are rare. From 2000 to 2016, which is the closest to us, Lichun is on the 4th of February in all 17 years, and 2018 is also on the 4th of February. Only on February 3, 2017, the last Lichun occurred in 1897, 120 years ago. Lichun hasn’t met the 5th in 19 years. Statistics from 1900 to 2000 show that Lichun has only February 4 and February 5, but not February 3.
When it comes to Lichun, in China, the breath of early spring can be clearly felt along the Tropic of cancer and its south. In the area north of the Tropic of cancer, it can only be said that it is the prelude to spring. Everything has not yet recovered and is still in the winter when everything is closed.
Some ancient Chinese works divided Lichun’s 15 days into three periods: “first, the east wind thaws, second, the insect starts to vibrate, and third, the fish breaks the ice(一候东风解冻，二候蜇虫始振，三候鱼陟负冰)”.
It is said that the east wind warms and the earth begins to thaw. Five days after the beginning of spring, the stinging insects slowly woke up in the cave. Five days later, the ice in the river began to melt and the fish began to swim on the water. At this time, there were still broken ice on the water, floating on the water like being carried by fish.
Welcome Spring 迎春
Spring Greeting is an important activity in the Beginning of Spring. You must make preparations in advance for rehearsal, commonly known as spring performance. Then we can officially welcome spring on the day of the beginning of spring. Spring greeting is held the day before the beginning of spring. The purpose is to pick up spring and Jumang God句忙神. In the past, there were Mang Gods忙神, Spring Cattle pictures春牛图, as well as “Turtle Heralding Spring 龟子报春” and “Bronze Drum Driving Away Disease铜鼓驱疫” on the annual imperial calendar, which were important activities for the Spring Festival at that time.
Whip Spring Cattle 打春牛
Spring Cattle春牛 are made of clay. On the day of Lichun, people break spring cattle with leather whips. Whip Spring Cattle remind farmers that spring has arrived. They should sow grains in time and pray for a bumper harvest of grain and national peace and security.
Spring Outing 踏春
After the beginning of spring, people like to go out for a spring outing on the days of warm spring flowers, commonly known as spring outing out of the city.
Eat Spring-Cake 吃春饼
Eating Spring-Cake is one of Lichun’s eating customs. Spring-Cake is a pancake baked with flour and eaten with vegetables.It has the meaning of welcoming spring and praying for a bumper harvest.
Standing Eggs On Li Chun (立春）
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