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According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Autumnal Equinox ( qiufen) is the day when night and day are of equal length.
After that day, the location of direct sunlight moves to the south, making the days shorter and nights longer in the northern hemisphere.
Part of the cultural heritage of China, the 24 Solar Terms embody Chinese people’s experience and knowledge of astronomy, phenology and agricultural meteorology.
The 24 Solar Terms was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in November.
On this year’s qiufen, which fell on Sept 23, the awards ceremony for the Logo Design Contest for China’s 24 Solar Terms was held in the capital as part of this year’s Beijing Design Week.
The contest was open to both professionals and juveniles, and 1,520 design works from 97 primary schools and 125 communities in Beijing were received in the juvenile group, of which dozens won awards of best design and most creative, and 60 finalists were shortlisted.
Zeng Hui, planning director of Beijing Design Week, initiated by the Ministry of Culture and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, says the students’ works embodied their own visual interpretations of the calendar.
“Teenagers learned about the solar terms through design, which helped raise their awareness of nature and the life cycle of the seasons,” Zeng says.
Huang Yifei, 11, a 6th-grade student at the Affiliated Primary School of Beijing Petroleum College, won a best design award for a drawing of White Dew ( bailu).
“I learned about the 24 Solar Terms in kindergarten and I’ve also learned a song about them in primary school,” Yifei says.
“White Dew is my favorite solar term as it’s very poetic. It indicates the real beginning of autumn.”
This year’s White Dew was on Sept 7, and Yifei read many poems about this solar term before finally choosing a poem by Du Fu, a Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet, as her inspiration.
“Du’s poem goes, ‘The dew starts to be white from tonight and the moon is brighter in my hometown’,” says Yifei.
“In Du’s poem, he expressed his homesickness by hearing Some teenage finalists a wild goose’s autumn night.”
“I drew a full moon because the White Dew is near mid-autumn and used a honk on an dark color night.
“I used a pen to draw the lines and then colored my design with marker pens,” to show it was Yifei explains.
Shao Liyuan, an art teacher at Cuiwei Primary School, was awarded the best tutor.
“Our students were enthusiastic and creative about the design contest. More than 95 percent of the students in each class took part in the competition. We won a dozen awards,” Shao says.
The designs were all original ideas by the students.
“As a tutor, I just helped them to accomplish their ideas,” Shao says.
“The competition also brought parents closer to their children, as they helped explain the solar terms.”
Yin Yue, the mother of Chen Sizhuo, 10, who won awards for designs for six solar terms including Rain Water ( yushui) and Insects Awakening ( jingzhe), says: “I searched the information of the solar terms and told my son the story of each solar term. We both learned together.”
Many primary schools in Beijing supported the competition. Fengtai No 1 Primary School organized hundreds of students to join the contest, and they worked in various mediums, including traditional Chinese painting, dough modeling and seal cutting.
“We were surprised by the students’ works. They were not just paintings, but designs,” says Yin Nan, principal of Beijing Fengtai No 1 Primary School.
“The competition provides a platform for our students, so they can be confident about themselves and care for nature at a young age.”
Some of the prize winners will visit UN headquarters in New York in February.
“We encourage our students to go out,” Yin says. “We want to see how creative our students can be.”
Contact the writer at liyingxue@ chinadaily.com.cn