Winter Solstice Customs
In midwinter, it is customary for people in Yinchuan to drink mutton and vermicelli soup and eat mutton dumplings. They call the midwinter soup a strange name: “brain”.
It was only five o’clock in the morning on midwinter day. The host had already prepared the festival food. He washed the purple mushrooms of Song Mountain and boiled them. Then he fished the mushrooms out of the pot and stir fried mutton. He added some ginger, shallot, garlic and red pepper after a few minutes. After that, he used some vinegar to pickle the mushrooms and wipe off the poisonous parts. Then he added some agaric, lily flower, vermicelli, yellowish leek, garlic sprouts and caraway. After all of the materials boiled together for five to ten minutes, the delicious festival food, mutton vermicelli soup, was ready to eat.
In Yinchuan, people call midwinter the “ghost festival”. They share their mutton vermicelli soup with their neighbors. This kind of food is regarded as a unique feature of Yinchuan.