Grain in Ear (Mang zhong/芒种)

According to the lunar calendar, Grain in Ear is the 9th of the 24 Solar Terms every year. In 2018, it falls on the 6th of June.

For the two characters in the name of the term Mang zhong, Mang describes the shape of the fully ripe crops so means harvest, while Zhong means sowing seeds, to plant the new batch of seeds.

The meaning of these two characters shows the business in the farm work, with the harvest of the first batch of the year, and meanwhile the planting of the next batch, and only by doing this fast and properly, farmers can expect a bigger harvest in the autumn.

An interesting part is the character Mang, which coincidentally shares the same pronunciation with another character with the meaning of ‘busy’, which is highly appropriate to describe the business of this time of the year. Therefore, people refer to this occasion as ‘busy sowing’ time.

Apart from the timing for a harvest as well as further planting, this solar term of Mangzhong traditionally also represents the start of the proper summer time, with the temperature getting much higher by each day from this point on. In the East China, i.e. the Yangtze River Delta area, Mangzhong brings the start of the Plum Rain season, which will be explained and introduced in a separate article on its own.