If Minor Heat marks the beginning of summer, then Major Heat reaches the peak of it. Major Heat (Chinese: 大暑dà shǔ), the twelfth solar term, is the hottest solar term of the year. The date of Major Heat is July 22nd, 23rd, or 24th each year depending on the movement of the sun. In 2021, Major Heat starts from 22nd July and ends on 6th August.
Eating Herb Jelly
Traditionally, Cantonese eat herb jelly on Major Heat. The jelly is made with a special herb whose stems and leaves can be made into herb jelly after being dried in the sun. With the amazing refreshing taste, the herb is referred to as “magical herb”. As the proverb goes: “Eating herb jelly in Major Heat will make you stay young like the immortals”. Herb Jelly can not only help people with hot constitution heat annealing, but also have positive effect on disease prevention, such as enhancing immunity and reducing the occurrence of cancer.
Sending the Major Heat ship
Sending the Major Heat ship is a folk tradition spanning hundreds of years in Taizhou, Zhejiang province. The ship is filled with various animals for sacrifice such as pigs, sheep, chicken, fish, and shrimps. More than 50 fishermen take turns carrying the ship as they march through the streets. Drums are played and fireworks are lit. Both sides of the street are filled with people praying for blessings. After a series of ceremonies, the ship is finally carried to the wharf and pulled out of the fishing port. People carry out this ritual to pray for good harvests and health.
Dry in the sun of Fu ginger (伏姜 Fú jiāng)
Fu ginger originate from Shanxi, Henan and other provinces in China. During Major Heat, ginger is sliced or juiced, mixed with brown sugar, put into containers covered with gauze and dried in the sun. Sun-dried Fu ginger can be eaten all year round. Gingerol in Fu ginger can cure abdominal distension, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. When people eat cold things, get caught or have a fever, drinking a cup of Fu ginger can eliminate the discomfort of the body immediately.