The first Chinese Language Day was celebrated in 2010 on the 12th of November but beginning in 2011 the date is the 20th of April, roughly corresponding to Guyu in the Chinese calendar. Chinese people celebrate Guyu (which usually begins around April 20) in honour of Cangjie, because of a legend that when Cangjie invented Chinese characters, the deities and ghosts cried and it rained millet; the word "Guyu" literally means "rain of millet".
Grain Rain - Guyu
The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms. Guyu (pinyin) or more commonly pronounced as Guyu, or Kokuu (romaji) (literally: "grain rain") is the 6th solar term. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 30° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 45°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 30°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20 and ends around May 5.
The term “Grain Rain” is originated from a folk story. When CangJie, an official from the Yellow Emperor period, created writing characters, grain camedown from sky like rainfall. Therefore, the Yellow Emperor named this day as the “GrainRain”. When this day comes, the amount of rainfall increases much than the day of“The Rain”, which is very important for the growth of the crops. After this day, theduckweed starts to grow after rainfall, the cuckoo starts to sing and hoopoe starts toappear on mulberry tree. The temperature in most of the basin areas increases quickly.Apart from the north-west part, most of the basin areas in China reach 20 to 22 degreeCelsius.
Below are some traditional customs during “Grain Rain”:
- Picking and cooking tea leaves: “Grain Rain Tea” is the name for the tea madearound the time of “Grain Rain”. It has a strong and fragrant taste and can last for along time in water. Nowadays, “Grain Rain Tea” is considered as one of the best kinds of tea and many activities to promote Chinese tea culture and healthy way of drinkingare held on this day.
- Blessing to the sea: “Grain Rain” is a perfect time for fishing since when temperatureincreases, the sea also gets warmer and many fishes swim in the sublittoral area.Fishermen often hold sacrifice ceremony for the sea to bless for safety and success onthe sea.
- Killing insects: As the weather gets warmer, insects become more active. Farmersoften use different methods to kill insects and pray at the same time.
- Taking a bath: In some of the north-west areas, people call the river showered by therains during “Grain Rain” period as “Peach Blossom water”. Taking a bath in this watercan help people be far away from the back luck.
- Eating cedrela sinensis.