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Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 11:44

6 things you may not know about Summer Solstice

By Agencies

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Summer Solstice (Chinese: 夏至), the 10th solar term of the year, begins on June 21 this year and ends on July 5.

At this time, much of the northern hemisphere receives the most hours of daylight, but it does not bring the hottest temperatures which will come only 20 to 30 days later.

In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But the solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through eating special foods, performing cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips that correspond with each solar term.

The following are 6 things you might not know about Summer Solstice.

The longest day of the year

On the Summer Solstice itself, daylight lasts the longest for the whole year in the northern hemisphere. After this day, daylight hours get shorter and shorter and temperatures become higher in the northern hemisphere.

How long is the longest day in China? According to the expert Yan Jiarong, the entire day in Mohe in Helongjiang province, located in the northernmost tip of China, lasts nearly 17 hours when you include dawn, twilight and its afterglow. Summer Solstice is the best season for viewing the aurora in Mohe, "the sleepless town of China".

6 things you may not know about Summer Solstice

A public holiday in ancient times

Summer Solstice was an important festival in ancient China. As early as the Han Dynasty (260BC-220), when the Mid-autumn Festival and the Double Ninth Festival were not as important as they are today, the Summer Solstice was already celebrated.

Before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), people even had a one-day holiday on Summer Solstice. According to Song Dynasty (960-1279) records, officials could have three days off during the Summer Solstice.

To celebrate Summer Solstice, women gave colored fans and sachets to each other. Fans could help them cool down and the sachets could drive away mosquitoes and make them smell sweet.

6 things you may not know about Summer Solstice

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