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The 24 solar terms: part eleven

| 2015-04-10 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

The weather in Da Han is the coldest of the year.


Da Han: Great Cold
Da Han, the 24th solar term, begins this year on Jan. 20 and ends on Feb. 4. In this period, snow, rain and icy cold weather exert a big influence on people’s lives. Here are seven things you should know about Da Han.

During Da Han, as the cold current moves southward, the weather is very cold. Although modern meteorological observation shows that in some regions of China the weather during Da Han is not colder than Xiao Han, the lowest temperatures of the whole year still occur in the Da Han period in some coastal areas.

During Da Han, people in Beijing have a habit of eating “dispelling cold cake,” a kind of rice cake. Sticky rice, the cake’s main ingredient, contains more sugar than rice, which can make people feel warm all over their bodies. In Chinese the word “rice cake” has the same pronunciation with the word “higher in a new year,” which symbolizes good luck and continual promotion.

An important day during Da Han is the La Ba Festival, when people usually eat La Ba porridge, porridge with eight kinds of mixed grains and corn. The festival is celebrated on the eighth (ba) day of the 12th month in Chinese lunar calendar (la yue) and is one of the most important traditional festivals in Chinese culture.

Da Han always coincides with the end of the year in lunar calendar. In some areas of China, people always fall over each other in eagerness to buy sesame straw during this period because of the old saying, “Rise joint by joint like sesame flowers on the stem.” This saying is used to describe either ever-rising living standards or making steady progress in thought, studies or skills.

In Anqing of Anhui Province, people traditionally eat fried spring rolls during Da Han. They use a round, cooked, thin pancake to wrap stuffing in a thin roll. Then it is fried in a pan with oil until it turns yellow and floats to the top. The stuffing inside the spring roll contains meat or vegetables and the flavor can be salty or sweet.

Residents in Nanjing of Jiangsu Province like to drink stewed soup during Da Han, which can make people feel warm from head to foot. They always stew the aged hen soup with ginseng, matrimony vine and black fungus.

There is a saying that goes, “Dripping water freezes during Xiao Han and Da Han.” In various regions of China, Da Han is the perfect time for winter sports such as skiing, ice skating and sledding.

(The End)