Seasons of China: Winter

01/11/2020

The Chinese calendar is divided into 24 Solar Terms. The winter season in the Chinese calendar is divided into 6 periods from November 6 to February 3. How do natural changes during this period affect daily life?

Seasons of China (四季中国) is a TV 24-episode documentary series that examine the impact of 24 Solar Terms on contemporary China. Created by Xinhua News Agency CNC.

立冬 Start of Winter (Lì Dōng)

The 19th solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on November 7. This term signifies the beginning (li) of winter (dong).

In this period, the temperatures in many parts of China decline. In terms of agriculture, the Start of Winter means that the autumn crops have been harvested and animals have hidden to prepare for hibernation.

Traditionally, people around the country, and particularly in the north, like to eat dumplings (jiaozi). A famous saying in northern regions goes: “Eating dumplings when the winter begins helps one better resist the upcoming bitter cold”. Other dishes in this period include mutton soup, chicken, fish and duck.

小雪 Minor Snow (xiao xue)

The 20th solar term of the lunar calendar. It begins on November 22, and signifies the second term of winter.

In this period, the temperatures continue to drop, the air becomes dryer, and snowfall can be seen in northern China.

Traditionally, Minor Winter reminds people around the country to have hot soups such as radish soup and eat yang dishes like chicken, mutton, and ginger to keep themselves warm.

This is also the time for preparing preserved food, which can then be stored for a long time.

In terms of agriculture, according to an old Chinese saying: “If the sky is full of snow during Minor Snow, next year will be a harvest year.”

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