March 20 marks Chunfen or the spring equinox this year, the fourth of the 24 solar terms on the Chinese lunar calendar. The sun is exactly above the Earth's equator, resulting in the day and night being equally long.
Winter is gone and the temperatures are soaring quickly. Plants are slowly donning their green coats and nature is waking up from its months-long slumber.
The ancient Chinese divide Chunfen into three "Hou" – the "blackbirds arrive in the first Hou, thunder cracks the sky in the second Hou, lightning occurs frequently in the third Hou." The old saying indicates that after the spring equinox, swallows migrate from the south and the sky thunders when it rains.
Chunfen also heralds the breeding season for many animals. The black-neck cranes arrive at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau where they will mate, lay eggs and raise their chicks during summer. Snow leopards can also be heard roaring in low pitch during March in searching of a partner.