China's traditional solar terms inspire business

Updated 2018-05-06 11:15:01 Xinhua

Sun Xueting waits anxiously for the first batch of rose water to come out of a factory in the suburbs of Shanghai.

Saturday is the first day of Lixia, or the beginning of summer, in accordance with China's traditional "solar terms." The 24 solar terms, including Lixia, were added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016.

"Chinese farmers used astronomical signs, changes in temperature and precipitation to create a calendar that divides the year into 24 segments to guide farmers over the four seasons," said Liu Kuili, head of the China Folklore Society.

But for Sun, the solar terms have brought business opportunities. Last year, she quit her job and started making hydrolates based on the plants associated with each solar term.

The 24 terms each have a companion plant. Rose, for example, is for Lixia, and cinnamon is for Lidong, the beginning of winter.

"I worked out the best times for picking the best flowers and turning them into hydrolate," Sun said.

A hydrolate is an aqueous suspension of essential oil extracted from plants, which can be used in food or for skin protection.

"In Chinese culture, hydrolate is mentioned frequently, such as in the Dream of the Red Mansions," Sun said. "I thought it would be a good idea to make the product."

"Putting the 24 solar terms into bottles is a way to remind people of our culture," Sun said. "I hope they will appreciate the changes of seasons more and find the flavor of nature in my bottles."

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