The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Minor Snow, (Chinese: 小雪), the 20th solar term of the year, begins this year on Nov 22 and ends on Dec 6.
Minor Snow refers to the time when it starts to snow, mostly in China's northern areas, and the temperature continues to drop.
Here are seven things you should know about Minor Snow.
Lightly snowy winter
An ancient Chinese book about plants explains that "in Minor Snow, the weather is cold and it is going to snow; while the earth is not frozen enough and the snow is light." The temperature of most areas in the north drops to zero degrees and below. While in the lower and middle reaches of the Yellow River, the average time of the first snow is in the Minor Snow solar term. The snow is light and frozen at night, but melts quickly during the day.
Wearing hats and scarves
In China, starting in Minor Snow, the wind blows from the northeast a lot. Because it is not bitter yet, many people do not yet wear hats or scarves. In fact, according to an old Chinese saying, "the head is the place where all passages of the body gather". It is sensible to keep one's head warm.
During Minor Snow, indoor heating begins to work. Thus the air indoors is dry and most people might feel their nose and mouth are dry. According to practices in traditional Chinese medicine, this accumulation of "inner hear" in one's body can cause problems, including oral ulcers and break outs. The solution is to drink more hot soup, such as cabbage with bean curd soup, spinach with bean curd soup and mutton with radish soup.
Eating glutinous rice cake
In some areas of South China, people have glutinous rice cakes in the early 10th lunar month, which is around Minor Snow. In ancient times, glutinous rice cake was a traditional festival offering to the bull god.
Making preserved pork
After Minor Snow, the temperature declines sharply and the air becomes dry. It is the best time to start making preserved pork. Until the Chinese Spring Festival, it will be well made and enjoyed. In the past, when storage conditions were poor, people created many ways to store food. Preserved pork is one of them. Thus even in the bitter winter, the whole family could enjoy meat without going out. Some even say preserved pork tastes more delicious than fresh meat.
Making pickled vegetables
For thousands of years, people of Nanjing, Jiangsu province have welcomed Minor Snow with pickled vegetables made in different ways.
Nanjing is known for its pickled vegetables. In the past, due to inconvenient transportation, vegetables sold in Nanjing were few and expensive. Thus people there made pickled vegetables for the winter.
Avoiding spicy food
On cold days, people want to have some hot and spicy food to keep warm. Experts say that it is wise not to eat overly spicy food, since that will enhance inner heat.