Here is a list of eight things that you may not know about the start of winter in China!
Is it the Beginning or Not?
Traditionally, Chinese people believed that the "start" of winter was the same as the "beginning" of winter. In language terms, this may be true, but in meterological terms, this isn't always correct.
Each year, the weather is different, so winter itself may start at different times. Additionally, China is a large country, so each province has its own climate.
How Ancient China Welcomed the Winter
Before the start of winter, an emporor would take a shower and stop eating meat. On that very day, they would also lead their officials to perform a ceremony to welcome the winter.
Why Dumplings are Important
A folk tale states that during the end of Eastern Han, a medical professional named Zhang saved many people in Henan from Typhoid Fever, and from having their ears damaged by winter.
To do this, he would cook mutton, hot peppers and herbs to increase the body's heat. He would wrap all of these ingredients into a skin made of dough, and make them into the shape of an ear.
Due to this, people have been eating dumplings for a long time!
A festival named "Yifan" is one of the most important times for people from the Mulam ethnic minority in Guangxi. Every 3 to 5 years, it is held during this time, and lasts around 3 days.
During the festival, people would invite gods, offer sacrifices, sing praises, and drink wine mixed with the blood of chicken.
Eating for the Winter
On the first day of the "Start of Winter" people would take part in nourishing their bodies. This is common in South East China, in provinces such as Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan.
People would do this to people for the winter months, by eating high-calorie foods like Chicken, Beef, Mutton or fish. When preparing the meat, they would mix them with different traditional medicines to enhance the effect.
On the first day, in Tianjin, people would eat dumplings that were filled with Chinese Pumpkin as it is a common vegetable in North China.
Usually, the pumpkins were bought in the summer and kept until the winter.
The importance of Tuanzi
On the first day, people from Wuxi would eat Tuanzi, which is a traditional food made of rice. It is quite delicious, as it is made from freshly harvested crops.
Most people from rural parts would make tuanzi by hand, while urban residents would simply purchase it from the store.
Inside the tuanzi is ingrediences such as sweet beans, radish or lard.
During a festival, people in Liaoning Province would light incense and offer sacrifices to their ancestors. All of these people would be from the Manchu Eight Banners and the Han Eight Banners in Benxi.
Essentially, each "Eight Banners" were military divisions.