The Yin and Yang of the Summer Solstice

Hey, it’s the summer solstice!

In feng shui terms, that means that yang energy has reached a peak. From today onwards, yang will be weakening while yin energy grows.

If you look at the Chinese yin-yang symbol, yang energy is the white bit, and yin the black. Yang energy is bright, active, masculine energy, while yin is dark, passive, feminine energy. (That doesn’t mean yin is bad and yang is good. Yin and yang are the opposing energies of qi, the continuous life force in all living and nonliving things.)

In Chinese philosophy, the seasons are part of the transformation from yin to yang energy and vice versa. The summer solstice marks the point at which yang starts to ebb, and yin increases. The reverse happens at the winter solstice, when yin reaches a peak, after which it begins to wane.

The summer solstice used to be a bigger deal in China. In ancient times, it coincided with the wheat harvest, so the custom was to perform rituals to show gratitude for the harvest and to ask for more bountiful years. The ancient Chinese also performed ceremonies to honor their ancestors for the blessings the ancestors bestowed.

The summer solstice isn't celebrated much today. Some regions in China may hold dragon boat races and eat customary foods. Noodle dishes such as cold sesame oil noodles are especially popular at this time of year. The belief is that because yang energy is so strong right now, it’s best to consume refreshing foods that can protect against the hot weather and reduce the body’s internal heat.

The noodles are eaten with side dishes such as cold Chinese cabbage salad and smacked cucumber.


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