Here comes another solar term, white dew day, when the cool, uncomfortable autumn wind sent away the last traces of summer heat. Daylight hours become shorter in the northern hemisphere, the temperature difference between day and night becomes larger. One can already feel a hint of chilliness at dawn and dusk. The cold air condenses into autumn dew, which is called white dew.
After White Dew, migratory birds, most sensitive to climate, start to fly away en masse. “Against the night wind of white dew, a line of wild geese are flying south.” While the wild geese are flying from north to south, other birds began to store food for the incoming winter.
The reeds, in the color of the dark jade, sway in the wind, buoyant and resilient. “while the gray and green reeds grow, white dew turn into frosts aglow, and the one I seek is somewhere across the flow” lamented a very ancient poet.
This is a very busy time for farmers everywhere in China. Rice in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River begins to ripen. In the golden patty fields, Harvesters are moving back and forth, reaping the golden rice ears with plump grains.
In areas such as Hunan, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Province, there is a tradition of brewing home made white dew rice wine ever since ancient times. It is said that the custom originated in Qin and flourished in the Tong and Song dynasty. This low alcohol white dew rice wine is fermented from glutinous rice. It's warm, but not too hot, fresh and sweet, energizing and soothing, and it can invigorate the spleen and nourish the stomach. In other places, there is also a custom of eating sweet potatoes and longan on this white dew day. Sweet potato is rich in protein and amino acids.According to the Chinese Ancient Medical Encyclopedia, Compendium of Materia Medica, sweet potatoes can tonify deficiency, strengthen the spleen, wet appetite and benefit the yin element of the kidney. Longan has a variety of beneficial effects, such as replenishing Qi and invigorating spleen, calming the mind and even improving the skin.
The traditional mid autumn festival is approaching as the days have turned crisp and clear. The cool wind brings on white dew, and such a good time as the mid autumn days is to be well spent.