CULTURE Light Snow: Chilly winter is approaching


Light Snow: Chilly winter is approaching


12:58, November 22, 2020

Light Snow, or "Xiaoxue" in Chinese Pinyin, is the 20th of the 24 solar terms in China, and it falls on November 22 this year. Different from the 'light snow' used in weather forecast to describe snowfall, this solar term mainly marks a decline of temperature towards below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

(Illustration: JIAN Shan; Beijing International Design Week)

Three phases of Light Snow

According to ancient Chinese customs, light snow is divided into three phases. In the first phase, the rainbow will hide and will not appear again. In the second phase, lives lose energy due to the cold weather. In the last phase, the whole world is turning into a closed and chilly winter.

(Photos: Xinhua)

Food storage during Light Snow

Light Snow means we have already stepped into the real winter. People across China have to begin preparing food and warm clothes to overcome the following freezing days.

One of the popular activities is making pickled vegetables or preserved meat. The low temperature and strong wind after Light Snow offer the best natural environment for processing this kind of food. It is a tradition passed on for generations in China because dried and salted food can be preserved for a long time, and help people to survive the coldness when food is not easy to obtain.

Nowadays, Chinese people are no longer worried about food storage, but pickled vegetables and preserved meat have been a yummy taste of winter on the table.

Keep warm and drink hot water

During Light Snow, people will easily get running noses because sometimes the temperature goes down dramatically. It is necessary to put on more layers of clothes, as well as wear scarves and gloves. Besides, people enjoy more hot water instead of cold drinks. As a Chinese style habit, drinking hot water helps people improve body temperature and keep hydrated in the dry and cold winter days.

According to some doctors of traditional Chinese medicine, food with a dark color is beneficial to health during the Light Snow. For example, it is recommended to eat more black rice, black sesame, black dates, and black fungus. These black foods help keep coldness away from the body and offer more energy.

However, kids enjoy more sugar-coated haws on cold days, which are the superstars of street food in winter. Their red and crystal appearances are eye-catching, while the sweet and sour taste helps them win many foodies’ love.

Looking forward to the first fall of snow

Entering Light Snow, days will get colder and colder. It reminds us of real winter. As the name implies, snow plays an important role in this solar term. As an old Chinese saying goes, “Next year will be a good year when Light Snow snows heavily.” Therefore, Chinese people are looking forward to the first fall of snow on Light Snow.

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