Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Autumn Fatigue

In western society, our calendar (Gregorian) is based on the movement of the planet around the sun. It is specifically designed so that the time from one fixed point, such as a solstice or equinox, to the next is called a tropical year. Our seasons are then tied to these opposing solstice (winter and summer) and equinox (spring and autumn).

Living in China, I have been intrigued by the fact that the change in season - now Summer to Autumn - is declared by the government. It's not based on the relationship of the sun to our planet, or even under the Chinese Lunar calendar, the relationship of the moon to our planet. Rather the change in season is based upon having a specific number of days in below (or above) a certain temperature. Seems really quite practical, especially when policy is tied to the season - that is, when it's ok to turn on and off heaters and air-conditioners.

The declaration of a season also brings with it new Mandarin vocabulary, compliments of the Shanghai Daily. On Monday, 16 October 2006, we were treated to

秋乏 (qiufa). Meaning Autumn Fatigue. According to the paper, "It refers to the phenomenon that many people feel fatigued though not ill at the beginning of the autumn season. Some recent traffic accidents were attributed to this phenomenon."

It does make you wonder whether this is a legitimate defense . I'm sorry, Your Honor. I know the accident was bad but I should be forgiven. You see, it was unavoidable. It was a case of "Autumn Fatigue".

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you find your Autumn to be energizing!

For a bit more on Autumn, see www.readsolutionsgroup.com/coachblog.html.
For more on calendars, enjoy the website http://www.webexhibit.org/calendars/index.html.


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