The Customs of Autumn Begins
The customs in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, are generally the same as other places in China, but they also have their own characteristics.
Dating back to the Zhou Dynasty, every year on the day of Start of Autumn, the emperor would welcome the autumn at the west field, leading his secretaries along with him. During the Han Dynasty (206BC-220), the custom was also followed, and people began to sacrifice animals to the heavens. As for folks of Yiwu, they have a custom to make a divination about the weather.
The Start of Autumn is a big solar term for the farmers. There is a saying: “If it rains on the day of the Start of Autumn, a harvest will come.” Because of that, people attach great importance to this solar term.
Starting from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Yiwu people ate red beans at the Start of Autumn. They take seven to fourteen little beans, swallowing them with well water. When taking the beans, one must face west so as not to get dysentery during the autumn. The people in Sishui also have the custom of eating watermelons at the Start of Autumn, and, in addition, taking a bath at the Start of Autumn is not allowed by custom.