The Beginning of Winter——“Snowflakes are just Around the Corner”
The Beginning of Winter (Chinese：立冬 lì dōng) is the first solar term in winter, a time when all the autumn crops have been harvested, dried and stored, and all animals are sink into hibernation. In the twenty-four solar terms, there are four solar terms that begin with “beginning”: the Beginning of Spring, the Beginning of Summer, the Beginning of Autumn, and the Beginning of Winter, which respectively refer to the beginning of the four seasons. Upon the Beginning of Winter, weather gets cold and bleak, vegetation withered and the earth quiting down. This also means that snowflakes are just around the corner! Making snowmen, playing snowballs, sledding... The date of The Beginning of Winter is November 7th or 8th each year depending on the movement of the sun. In 2021, The Beginning of Winter starts from 7th November and ends on 21st November.
After the Beginning of Winter, weather becomes colder. Since everyone had been working hard for a year, it’s a perfect timing for families to take a break, enjoying the reward of their hard work. Therefore, the custom of “winter tonic” is passed on. However, the ways of winter tonic differ among different places. Northerners like to eat dumplings, while southerners like to have warm and nutritious food like lamb soup and chicken soup to warm and nourish their body.
As the saying goes: “harvest all vegetables at Winter Begins; otherwise there's lost to suffer.” Vegetables such as radishes and cabbage are well ripe at this point. If not harvested in time, they will be exposed in coldness and thus damaged. Besides, farmers often say: on the mid- October, garlic we plant. Why is this? In fact, garlic, like green onions, falls to the category of overwintering vegetable, which should be planted before winter; otherwise there's no fresh garlic to eat in the next year!
On this day, many places in China have the tradition of “winter swimming to celebrate the arrival of winter”. People welcome the winter by swim in winter, hoping to have a sturdy body! Research in 1998 by Dr T Grune at the Clinic for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Humboldt University at Germany, also suggests that consistent and short immersions in cold water may help our immune system.
Upon this day, many animals hide in their caves for hibernation. To deal with the low temperature and food scarcity in winter, these animals simply choose to sleep through it, with no food or water, consuming very little energy, When the next spring arrives, they will slowly wake up and become active again.
Days Countdown to Chinese New Year
The current date is 7 November 2021
86 days until 1 February 2022 (Chinese New Year)