The Customs of the Stopping the Heat
In most parts of China, customs around the End of Heat period are often related to worshiping ancestors and welcoming autumn, Eating Duck in End of Heat, Floating River Lanterns and The Fishing Season Festival.
Eating Duck in End of Heat
Duck has a sweet flavor and according to Chinese traditional medicine it has a ‘cool’ nature. A folk tradition is to eat duck during the End of Heat period. There are many recipes for cooking duck such as roast duck, cooked duck with lemon, smoked duck with walnut dressing and sautéed duck with ginger shoots. The tradition of eating duck during the End of Heat period is still popular in Beijing today.
Floating River Lanterns
These river lanterns are also called lotus lanterns. People put a light or a candle on the lamp stand and float it on rivers at the night of the Hungry Ghost Festival, which falls on the 14th and 15th of the seventh lunar month. This activity aims to help the ghosts in the river reincarnate. A few lines in The Biography of Hulan River explained this custom. It says: the 15th of the seventh lunar month is a ghost festival. The ghosts of people who have been wrongly accused can’t reincarnate and suffer a lot in hell. If they can get one river lantern that night, they can reincarnate.
The Fishing Season Festival
For fishermen, the End of Heat is a season of harvesting. During this period, the Fishing Season Festival is held in regions following the coastline of the East China Sea in Zhejiang Province. The festival is held on the day when the fishing ban ends and fishermen can start fishing again. Due to high temperatures in the sea, stocks of fish still stay around and become mature. People can enjoy many kinds of seafood during this period.
Welcoming the Autumn
An event called the “Hungry Ghost Festival” falls on the 14th and 15th of the seventh lunar month. In ancient times, a ceremony called “opening the ghost door” begins on the 1st of the seventh lunar month and lasts to the end of the seventh lunar month. During that period, people conduct activities to help ghosts reincarnate.
After the coming of End of Heat, people like to go on an excursion and enjoy the early autumn scenery and welcome the coming of autumn. When the End of Heat comes, summer heat is gone. Clouds in the sky seem to know this and scatter around forming different shapes. There is a saying among folks which goes, “Enjoying the clouds of various forms in July and August (lunar month).”