san yue, Sargassum pallidum fragrance

In my hometown Tongcheng, there is a custom of eating Wormwood every year before and after lunar March. At this time, the whole village was soaked in the fragrance of the wormwood, and the neighbors seemed to become the Wormwood. When they went out, there was a fragrance of the wormwood on their bodies. I have lived in my hometown for nearly two decades, and Artemisia is my favorite special snack. You can eat four or five each time. When I was in school, I ate at home in the morning and took some to school to distribute them to my classmates from the town. Because they were all city dwellers, many of their parents had to go to work, and they wouldn’t do such complicated procedures at all. Therefore, in March, the smell of Wormwood is often floating in the classroom instead of chalk dust. When I was in class, I secretly lowered my head to the desk by accident, and took a bite of the Wormwood. The teacher who gave the lecture had become accustomed to it. Looking at the greedy classmates below, he just laughed at them. Sometimes when meeting a humorous teacher, he also jokingly reminds you not to Choked (hometown dialect, meaning of choking). Although I like eating Wormwood, I hate picking Wormwood very much. Picking Wormwood needs patience very much. What’s more important is to subconsciously think that this kind of work is done by girls. It is shameful for a man to do such a thing, which is to be laughed at by his companions. However, my brother and I are the only two children in the family, and my mother wants to knead noodles. If you want to eat Wormwood, no matter how much you hate it, you still have to take baskets and scissors obediently to the ridge of the field and the mountain along the river bank to pick Wormwood. In this way, year after year, I went unwillingly carrying a basket of wormwood. It is said that picking wormseeds requires patience, because making wormseeds requires high requirements. It is necessary to tender the wormwood, and the head of the wormwood is the most important. At that time, I often saw children looking for good Wormwood everywhere with scissors. Sometimes they couldn’t pick a lot of baskets all afternoon. At that time, they only sighed that they were not as good as others, and went home unwillingly to wait for their mother’s ridicule. Many years later, looking at the endless cotton waiting for topping in the 14th Regiment in Shihezi, Xinjiang, I thought of those wormseeds I once picked, at this time, I was nearly miles away from the village where I was born and raised. In fact, people need more patience to make Wormwood cakes. Therefore, there is a concept spreading in my hometown: the women who can make Wormwood must be hardworking, and they must also be a good wife. Invisibly, the quality of making a wormwood cake has become a standard to evaluate whether the wife is virtuous or not. But after all, this happened many years ago, and it has been five years since the last time I ate wormwood cake. Since I arrived in Xinjiang in 2004, although I had never eaten Wormwood, I couldn’t help thinking of wormwood and wormwood every March. I can’t remember clearly whether it was or on the third day of lunar March, I saw the photo of the wormwood she just took out of the pot in the blog of the fellow poet Bai Meng, and it seemed that she was still smoking. Looking at the photo, I felt that I was back to Tongcheng again. Those Wormwood were right in front of me, waiting for me to destroy it. I had thoughts in the day and had dreams in the night. As expected, I dreamed that I ate wormwood in class at that time and couldn’t help waking up with laughter. Although I don’t forget about the wormseed cake, I don’t know why the villagers have to eat it until lunar March. When I was young, I forgot everything when I saw the wormwood cake. I only knew how to eat it. Of course, I forgot to ask how the custom of eating the wormwood cake came from on March. It was not until I came to Xinjiang that I began to pay attention to it. For this, I once specially consulted a teacher who did a lot of research on Tongcheng custom, and knew the reason slightly: it turned out that from March to March, the wormwood began to turn green, at this time, Tomb Sweeping Day is approaching. This is a carnival of ghosts, then the living may encounter danger. If one is not careful or has a weak Yang, he may get out of his mind and be dragged away by some ghost. Therefore, in order to live at ease, villagers came up with such a way to stick their souls to their bodies, so they would not be afraid of being dragged away by revelry ghosts. Of course, the one who sticks to the soul is the wormwood cake. After eating the wormwood cake, the soul is stuck and the heart is relieved. Therefore, in the village, whoever has made a good job in the village, the neighbors will send them to each other to express their wishes for peace. Of course, these are just legends, but the wormseed cake born with the legend is indeed full of Wormwood fragrance, which is unforgettable. Haoziba gave many people who left home in Tongcheng a wonderful memory. At the same time, Wormwood came into the poem of Wanderer again and again: March is the season of germs breeding and high illness. In ancient times, the living and medical conditions were poor, and many people died of illness. Therefore, people use glutinous rice and wormwood to make harrows, because it is very sticky, people think that after eating it, people can live their souls. This is certainly superstition. However, Wormwood itself is a wild plant with the fragrance of herbs. Maybe it really has some therapeutic or preventive effects. Anyway, it really lives many people’s souls, especially those who leave their hometowns. And one of the people who left my hometown was me.

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