Whatever the Weather…


The weather in Hamburg is really changeable during the summer. Sometimes there is a combination of rain, sun, wind, and cloud throughout a single day. The rain can come without warning and then one second later the sun will be shining again. However, in China everywhere is the same temperature throughout the summer, with sporadic thunderstorms at dusk in cities such as Beijing.

At the moment many of my friends in Beijing are complaining about the high temperatures (38℃ or 39℃) and day-long heat waves. All they want to do is to hide in a room with air conditioning and watch TV or surf the Internet. They simply cannot bear the hot weather anymore, saying that ‘the clouds are on a fire’ (火云如烧) or that ‘people are sweating like it is raining’ (挥汗如雨). Both are Chinese idioms about hot weather.

Aside from these idioms about certain weather conditions, there are also many Chinese proverbs to forecast weather. Most of them come from the agriculture and farming community because the farmers need to adjust their farming methods according to the weather. Listed here are eight Chinese proverbs, which combine animal responses and the weather forecast. They have no direct English equivalents so I have included a literal translation for each.

• 泥鳅叫,雨来到;泥鳅静,天气晴。
The rain comes when the loaches are loud; the sun shines when the loaches are quiet.

Heavy rain is on the way with loud calls from the frogs.

Rains are ahead, when the chickens go to their cages late.

It is going to rain when the ants are moving.

It is going to be sunny the next day when the bees come back late.

Wind and Rain are expected when the fish jump out of water.

Bring an umbrella when the dragonflies fly low.

There comes the drought when the black dragonflies are in a chaos.

Try this quiz if you have more interest in Chinese proverbs related to weather. With the knowledge above, it is now much easier.

You might also like: