24 Solar Terms：Winter Solstice冬至
“Winter Solstice” falls between the periods of December 21 to December 23. One thisday, the day is the shortest and night is the longest in the year. After this day, manyplaces in China go through the coldest period, which is called in Chinese, “Shu Jiu”,meaning counting nine. In total, there are nine periods with nine days for each. In thefirst and second nine days, people keep their hands in pockets; in the third and fourthnine days, people can walk on ice; in the fifth and sixth nice days, people can seewillows along the river bank; in the seventh and eighth nine days, the swallow comesback and in the ninth nine days, the yak starts working. “Winter Solstice” is not only asolar term but an important festival. People eat Jiaozi in north China and eat TangYuan, rice dumpling in south China.
Here are some traditional foods for “Winter Solstice”.
- Wanton noodle: During the Han Dynasty, the Hsiung-Nu often invaded the broaderand bullied the farmers. At that time, there were two leaders in the Hsiung-Nu army,whose surnames were “Hun” and “Tun”. Farmers hated them so much and madedumplings with their names. Thus, people formed the tradition of eating “Hun Tun”, iethe Wanton noodle, on this day.
- Red bean glutinous rice: In south China around Yangtze delta area, people have thecustom of eating red bean glutinous rice. In a very old legend, the Gongmu Family hasa son, who always bullied the poor people. He died on the day of “Winter Solstice”,turned into ghost and continued to do bad things. However, this ghost scared of the redbean most and people ate red bean rice to drive him away.
- Jiaozi: Jiaozi is a necessary dish on this day no matter the family is poor or rich.
Healthy Living Tips
As Chinese medical principle believes, the Yang Qi inside people’s body is born on thisday. In ancient times, there was a period considering “Winter Solstice” as the beginningof the year. People believe that when the Yang Qi is born, it should be raised andprotected just like crops. Only when it’s well protected, people’s health can be in a goodcondition for the whole year. If someone has chronic disease and need long timesupplement, they should take nourishment from “Winter Solstice” to “Spring Begins”. Ifsomeone only need short term supplement, they only need to take nourishment aroundthe third nine days of the nice periods mentioned above.