Day of Awakening from Hibernation(驚蟄)

Headword

경칩 ( 驚蟄 , Gyeongchip )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Spring > 2nd Lunar month > Seasonal Terms

Writer KimHyokyung(金孝慶)

The Gyeongchip (Kor. 경칩, Chin. 驚蟄, Day of Awakening from Hibernation), also known as Gyechip (Kor. 계칩, Chin. 啓蟄), is the third of the twenty-four solar terms and occurs on the 74th day after the winter solstice at which time the sun is at the ecliptic longitutde of 345 degrees. Gyeongchip falls on approximately March fifth on Gregorian calendar. When living things in the northern hemisphere awaken from their hibernation in early March, the continental anticyclone weakens, and the Korean peninsula is frequently traversed by migratory anticyclone and low pressure troughs. This causes an alternation between cold and warm weather. Meanwhile, the temperature steadily increases and spring eventually arrives.

The Joseon royal family (1392-1910) held a farming rite on the First Pig Day after the Gyeongchip on its private farmland in order to set an example for the commoners. The king often issued bans on burning the fields to protect early grass and spring insects.

For Koreans of yore the spring began after the Usu (Kor. 우수, Chin. 雨水, The First Rainfall of the Year) and Gyeongchip passed, when the ice sheets of the Daedong River started to thaw. During this time of year the ground and tree trunks would become covered with spring buds and shoots while animals woke up from their long winter slumber. One custom associated with Gyeongchip was hunting for frog or salamander eggs in rice paddy fields, ponds and ditches. It was believed that consuming those eggs would keep one healthy throughout the year. Gyeongchip was also considered a day on which all work associated with dirt could be done successfully. Thus, people frequently repaired walls in their mud-plastered houses or built mud fences, even if there was no real need to do so, as this repair work was believed to eliminate bedbugs from the house. In the homes which were severely infested with bedbugs, a bowl of water mixed with wood ashes was placed in each of the four corners of the room. On Gyeongchip Koreans also tried to predict the success of farming in the year ahead by looking at how well barley had germinated by this day.

Another related custom was drinking sap from the trunks of maple trees as this was believed to have healing benefits for gastric disorders and intestinal diseases. The maple sap had to be collected on a clear day because, according to a popular belief, cloudy or windy weather would spoil the positive energy of this day. Past Gyeongchip, the amount of sap available in a maple tree dwindles sharply and the sap was thought to lose its healing quality. Therefore it was critical to collect the sap on the day of Gyeongchip.

Day of Awakening from Hibernation

Day of Awakening from Hibernation
Headword

경칩 ( 驚蟄 , Gyeongchip )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Spring > 2nd Lunar month > Seasonal Terms

Writer KimHyokyung(金孝慶)

The Gyeongchip (Kor. 경칩, Chin. 驚蟄, Day of Awakening from Hibernation), also known as Gyechip (Kor. 계칩, Chin. 啓蟄), is the third of the twenty-four solar terms and occurs on the 74th day after the winter solstice at which time the sun is at the ecliptic longitutde of 345 degrees. Gyeongchip falls on approximately March fifth on Gregorian calendar. When living things in the northern hemisphere awaken from their hibernation in early March, the continental anticyclone weakens, and the Korean peninsula is frequently traversed by migratory anticyclone and low pressure troughs. This causes an alternation between cold and warm weather. Meanwhile, the temperature steadily increases and spring eventually arrives.

The Joseon royal family (1392-1910) held a farming rite on the First Pig Day after the Gyeongchip on its private farmland in order to set an example for the commoners. The king often issued bans on burning the fields to protect early grass and spring insects.

For Koreans of yore the spring began after the Usu (Kor. 우수, Chin. 雨水, The First Rainfall of the Year) and Gyeongchip passed, when the ice sheets of the Daedong River started to thaw. During this time of year the ground and tree trunks would become covered with spring buds and shoots while animals woke up from their long winter slumber. One custom associated with Gyeongchip was hunting for frog or salamander eggs in rice paddy fields, ponds and ditches. It was believed that consuming those eggs would keep one healthy throughout the year. Gyeongchip was also considered a day on which all work associated with dirt could be done successfully. Thus, people frequently repaired walls in their mud-plastered houses or built mud fences, even if there was no real need to do so, as this repair work was believed to eliminate bedbugs from the house. In the homes which were severely infested with bedbugs, a bowl of water mixed with wood ashes was placed in each of the four corners of the room. On Gyeongchip Koreans also tried to predict the success of farming in the year ahead by looking at how well barley had germinated by this day.

Another related custom was drinking sap from the trunks of maple trees as this was believed to have healing benefits for gastric disorders and intestinal diseases. The maple sap had to be collected on a clear day because, according to a popular belief, cloudy or windy weather would spoil the positive energy of this day. Past Gyeongchip, the amount of sap available in a maple tree dwindles sharply and the sap was thought to lose its healing quality. Therefore it was critical to collect the sap on the day of Gyeongchip.