Frost’s Descent: Time to say goodbye to autumn

Friday marks Frost Descent, or Shuang Jiang, the last solar term of autumn in traditional Chinese lunar calendar, during which time the weather becomes much colder and frost begins to appear. 

Literally, it refers to the time when frost starts to descend across China, or "the dews were congealed into frost" due to the coldness, as recorded in ancient Chinese books.

By the time of Shuangjiang, most of the harvesting work is already completed in northern China. Even the most cold-resistant crops can no longer grow. Large swaths of the fields in the north are done for the season, and farmers are now able to enjoy a hard-won rest. But in the south, the harvest is still in its heyday, as farmers have to take home the sweet potatoes before they are destroyed by the coming frost, while the winter wheat and oilseed rape need to be mothproofed.

In south and north, after a year of farming, now it is time to plow the fields and prepare the soil for next year.