Xiaoman: “Grain Full, Grain Full, all wheat grains are plump.”
Xiaoman (Chinese: 小满Xiǎo Mǎn), also know as Grain Full, is the eighth solar term of the year. Xiaoman's name is perhaps one of the more obscure when it comes to Chinese solar terms. As recorded in Chinese ancient bibliography, “In Xiaoman, grain gets plump" means that summer crops in the north begin to become plump, but not yet fully matured (represented by wheat). This is why the Chinese characters “Xiaoman”(Grain Full) means“little full” literally. Regarding the date of Xiaoman, it varies from May 20th, 21st or 22ed each year depending on the movement of the sun. In 2021, Xiaoman starts from 21st of May and ends on 4th of June.
Move three vehicles
There is a custom of “Xiaoman, move three vehicles ” in the southern China. The "three vehicles" refer to waterwheels, oil mills, and silk reeling car. Xiaoman is a time to irrigate the rice field and harvest rapeseed to make oil. Besides, silkworm raisers will also start to reel. Therefore, waterwheel, oil mill, and silk reeling car all start to be busy running, as the old saying goes “Xiaoman, three vehicles move, no time to rest”.
Bitter herb is a type of commonly-known wild vegetable, also called ixeris chinensis. It tastes bitter and sweet, green and refreshing. In ancient famine years, people often use bitter herbs to get over their hunger. During Xiaoman, the bitter herbs are ripe and ready to be served. If you'd like to make by yourself, give the leaves a quick boil before draining and mixing them with light soy sauce, and finish with a sprinkle of sesame and chopped scallions.