Today marks the Start of Winter, or Li Dong in Chinese, the 19th solar term of traditional Chinese lunar calendar. On this day, people hold ceremonies to worship their ancestors, make dumplings and eat grilled sugar canes to drive away the winter chill.
Hibernating animals begin their long winter sleep after the Start of Winter. The whole nature seems to enter a torpor stage to patiently expect a new beginning for the next year.
People celebrate the Start of Winter by worshiping their ancestors to pray for a prosperous year.
Grilled sugar canes is believed to be able to protect teeth and nourish the body for people living in the southern China.
A legend of a famous Chinese pharmacologist who saved patients from a typhoid epidemic by feeding them with ear-shaped filled doughs has been widely spread among folks. The food later became known as dumplings with a saying that “eat dumplings on Start of Winter day or your ears will be frostbitten.”