Chinese Traditions Involving Autumn and Other Seasons

September 23, 2017

Chinese Traditions Involving Autumn and Other Seasons

The other day i was reading this excellent article titled A Chinese perspective on autumn over at EarthSky. I know little about Chinese cultures, ancient or modern, but they (as the article states) differ from the cultures of the western world, as they do not throw out old ideas to be replaced with new ones. They build onto old ideas and intelligently create deeper roots. That's not to say that there aren't subcultures in the western world that do this but, by and far, mainstream western culture does its best to wipe out old knowledge and unfortunately replaces it with the inferior knowledge of a fleeting nature. "Knowledge" that's based in entertainment media these days.

As for Chinese traditions, here's a short summary of part of the article linked above. Many of their traditions and observances are worth thinking about. Research your family history and find the equivalent meanings amongst the culture of your ancestry.

It is said that five seasons are observed by some in Chinese tradition. Spring being the rise, sprouting of life, summer being the igniting of the blooming of nature, late summer being the completeness of the blooms of the season, autumn being when nature begins to dry/wither and settle in, and winter is when nature is at rest. These five phases/five elements come with the understanding that the cycle always repeats and that it is a new beauty that is meant to be looked forward to.

In terms of emotion, summer is expectedly associated with joy.

Autumn is associated with courage and sadness as nature begins to wither and the days become shorter. These seasons tend to give some a sense of sadness. Perhaps it explains Seasonal Affective Disorder, with some, but that is another subject. Sadness is just seen as a natural reaction to the changing season.

autumn fall tree with leaves changing color

Here's how Chinese traditions observe the season and give it meaning. In Chinese tradition west is seen as the direction of autumn. Face west and think about your dreams, what you look to achieve, the visions of such things, and the path you look to be on in your life.

White is seen as the color of the autumn season. So you can light white candles, to light up the season, and/or place white flowers anywhere you choose in your room or around your home. Allow yourself, if need be, to express the emotions over what/who you've lost over the previous seasons. Allowing yourself to cry and release these emotions. According to tradition it is weeping that is the sound of the autumn season. And within it, after the tears have fallen, is where you permit yourself the courage to face the times, events, and what's ahead of you.

The realizations you reach, in understanding the seasons, is also a path that leads you towards understanding the cycle of life itself. Towards finding peace and handling life better. You can use these traditions to combine or find the equivalent of that of your ancestry or find the equivalent within your current beliefs. Be they Christian or otherwise. Nature is our connection, not the worship of nature itself, per se, but the recognition of its patterns and how it supports us whether we realize it or not. How it is a part of finding our own peace away from the worldly, the fleeting, material creations of humankind.