Traditional Chinese Food Menu for 24 Solar Terms

(Last Updated On: December 22, 2022)

The 24 solar terms are a supplementary calendar used to guide agriculture in ancient China. In 2016, China’s “Twenty-Four Solar Terms” officially entered the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

People in ancient times lived according to natural changes and ate corresponding foods in each solar term. This has become a traditional culture precipitated. Let’s not worry about the differences in food in different places. Today, let’s feel the changes in solar terms through the following traditional solar-term food menu.

In the lunar calendar, the solar term’s time is sometimes different each year. There are six solar terms in one season.


立春 The Beginning of Spring (1st solar term) Feb.3,4, or 5

Eat spring rolls: It is the first of the twenty-four solar terms. People eat spring rolls or spring cakes with vegetables on this day. Eating spring rolls is also called “bite spring”, and that means you can bite “spring”.

雨水 Rain Water (2nd solar term) Feb.18,19 or 20

Eat dragon-beard cakes: According to legend, people eat dragon-beard cakes to miss the Dragon (Tianlong) who was punished under the mountain for raining water during the drought when he pity the peasants.

惊蛰 The Waking of Insects (3rd solar term) Mar.5,6, or 7

Eat the Fried Chop Rice Cake (驴打滚儿): As the saying goes: “After the startling sting, all insects will wake up.”. People eat this meaning “Pests die, people turn over.”

春分 The Spring Equinox (4th solar term) Mar.20,21 or 22

Eat spring vegetables.

清明 Pure Brightness (5th solar term) Apr.4,5 or 6

Eat Qi Tuan: There is an old Chinese saying, “Eat Qing Tuan before and after Pure Brightness, so you won’t get sick all year round.”

谷雨 Grain Rain (6th solar term) Apr.19,20 or 21

Eat cedrela sinensis: The custom of eating cedrela sinensis on this day. Before and after the Grain Rain, the cedrela sinensis is on the market. The cedrela sinensis is mellow and refreshing and has a high nutritional value. There is a saying that “cedrela sinensis is as tender as silk before the rain”


立夏 the Beginning of Summer (7th solar term) May 5,6 or 7

Eat duck eggs: eat duck eggs on this day, which is called “nourishing summer”, so that people will not lose weight in summer, and work vigorously.

小满 Lesser Fullness of Grain (8th solar term) May 20,21 or 22

Eat bitter vegetables: Traditionally, in May, eat more bitter things. , Bitter vegetables is one of the earliest wild vegetables eaten by the Chinese.

芒种 Grain in Beard (9th solar term) Jun.5,6 or 7

Eat green plums: The weather is hot during this period. Green plum contains a variety of natural high-quality organic acids and rich minerals and has unique nutrition and health functions such as lowering blood lipids and eliminating fatigue.

夏至 The Summer Solstice (10th solar term) Jun.21 or 22

Eat Noodles: The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. In the north area on this day, folk noodles are popular, and there is a saying ” Noodles in the summer solstice, and dumplings in the winter solstice.”

小暑 Lesser Heat (11th solar term) Jul.6,7 or 8

Eat new rice.

In the past, the folks had the custom of “eating new” in Lesser Heat to taste new rice after Xiaoshu. After the farmers milled the newly cut rice into the rice, they cooked the rice.

大暑 Greater Heat (12th solar term) Jul.22,23 or 24

Eat Herbel Jelly (仙草)

Many places in Guangdong have the custom of “eating Herbel jelly” during summer. There is also a saying among the folks that “eating Herbel jelly in the great summer heat of June will make you live like a god and never grow old.”


立秋 The Beginning of Autumn (13th solar term) Aug.7,8 or 9

Eating watermelon on this day is called “bite autumn” which is also popular in Tianjin and other places. Just like “Bite the Spring”, get rid of the heat and welcome the autumn.

处暑 The End of Heat (14th solar term) Aug.22,23 or 24

Eat duck: When the summer heat arrives, as the saying goes, “Send ducks in the summer heat, and every family is disease free.”

白露 White Dew (15th solar term)Sep.7,8 or 9

Eat longan:

There is a traditional custom called “Bailu must eat longan.” The folk meaning is that eating longan on the day of Bailu has the miraculous effect of replenishing the body.

秋分 the Autumn Equinox (16th solar term) Sep.22,23 or 24

Eat tang yuan( sticky rice balls): On the day of the autumn equinox, farmers have a holiday according to the custom. Every family eats glutinous rice balls and cooks the glutinous rice balls that do not need to be wrapped. People placed them on the ridge of the outdoor field with a thin bamboo fork. The name is sticking to the mouth of a bird. Lest the finches come to destroy the crops.

寒露 Cold Dew (17th solar term) Oct.8 or 9

Eat sesame: When the cold dew arrives, the weather changes from cool to cold. Eat sesame to nourish the yin.

霜降 Frost’s Descent (18th solar term) Oct.23 or 24

Eat persimmons

There is such a folk custom in the southern region that if you eat persimmons in frost, you will be less likely to catch colds and runny noses.


立冬 The Beginning of Winter (19th solar term) Nov.7 or 8

Drink chicken soup to nourish the body in winter.

小雪 Lesser Snow (20th solar term) Nov.22 or 23

Eat bacon: As the saying goes: “Tonic in winter, fight tigers in spring.”

大雪 Greater Snow (21st solar term) Dec.6,7 or 8

Eat lamb to resist the cold.

冬至 The Winter Solstice (22nd solar term) Dec.21,22 or 23

Eat dumplings during the winter solstice. It means that you will not freeze your ears on the winter solstice.

小寒 Lesser Cold (23rd solar term) Jan.5,6 or 7

Drink Laba Congee: Lesser Cold’s time is around the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month.

大寒 Greater Cold (24th solar term) Jan.20 or 21

It is the last term of the year.

Eats rice cakes(nian gao), The rice cake itself has the meaning of “higher year after year, rising step by step”, so eating rice cake in the cold solar terms also has this meaning.

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