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24 Solar Terms: Grain Buds

(Painted by Laili / Tianshannet)

As late May arrives, the wheat grains begin to plump up, signaling the onset of the Grain Buds season also known as Xiaoman.

Grain Buds season is the eighth of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms, with each term spanning about 15 days based on the position of the sun in the zodiac. An ancient Chinese book describes Xiaoman as the time when the seeds of the grain reach their plump stage but have not yet ripened.

Xiaoman is not only closely related to agricultural production but also rich in connotations drawn from Chinese philosophy. In Chinese, "Xiao" means little, and "Man" means full. Thus, the combination of these two characters indicates things are not full to their extreme.

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