Today marks the first day of sanfu, the hottest and dampest period of the year, which comes between the Minor Heat and End of Heat in Chinese lunar calendar.
Falling between mid-July to mid-August, sanfu, "dog days of summer", refers to the three 10-day periods that are predicted to be the hottest days of the year, which are called Toufu (the 1st phase), Zhongfu (the 2nd phase) and Mofu (the 3rd phase).
Although the first day of sanfu may vary from years, it always falls on mid-July. Since the 21st century, it has been scheduled from July 11 to 20, and this year has the earliest sanfu in the century.
In such scorching hot days, people are prone to physical discomfort and illness. Therefore, since the ancient time, Chinese people have had their own customs for sanfu. Cantonese are of no exception. They have their own set of health care approaches in sanfu. Let's take a look at the Cantonese ways of overcoming the dog days of summer.
Under the hot spell, sun protection and enough water hydration are necessary to prevent heatstroke, which usually causes fever and headache and even death.
2.Soaking feet with hot water
During the period of sanfu, people are easy to feel fatigued, sleepy with body soreness, little appetite and excessive sweating, which are the signals of “dampness heat” defined in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to TCM, to soak feet with 40°C hot water is a good way to deal with dampness heat by invigorating spleen and stomach to promote digestion and the regaining of appetite.
3.Receiving the Sanfutie
Sanfutie, or Sanfu medicinal patch, is a bandage made of TCM. In TCM, sanfu is considered a particularly suitable time for preventing illnesses. Sanfutie, a special treatment, has been used by Chinese people for hundreds of years and has been widely accepted within Guangdong Province.
Sanfutie represents a typical offseason TCM treatment, meaning to have treatments for illnesses related to cold weather in the days of summer. It contains a paste of herbs that are "hot" in nature, and when applied to specific acupuncture points, usually on the back and neck, they replenish the yang elements.
In addition, as a part of Cantonese's strong health care awareness, they are keen to maintain good health status through daily diet, so as to achieve the effect of clearing dampness heat and relieving summer heat during sanfu.
Vegetables and fruits
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is considered a good way to keep healthy. In fact, Foshan is rich in various kinds of vegetables and fruits, such as round-shape bitter gourds of Tanbian Village in Nanhai, Leping pear melons, and black wax gourds in Beijiao, Shunde. They all have the effect of relieving summer heat and preventing dehydration. Meanwhile, Foshan people are very good at turning simple ingredients into delicacies, creating many classic dishes, such as bitter gourds sashimi and wax gourd both.
With the benefits for health and the unique taste, Cantonese dessert has been a favorite among locals during summer days. Cantonese believe that, through the matching of different ingredients, Cantonese dessert can refresh the body and relieve the summer heat. Cantonese dessert is characterized by its rich and various flavors, which are often achieved by using a combination of ingredients such as fruits, nuts, beans, rice, glutinous rice and etc. Classical Cantonese dessert includes green bean soup, pear and white fungus soup and chilled mango sago with pomelo.
Reporter | Christy
Revisor | Eddie
Photo | Foshan Release