Beginning of winter is one of the twenty-four solar terms in the lunar calendar and one of the traditional Chinese festivals. Li means the beginning, it means the beginning of winter. The date is between November 6th and 8th on the Gregorian calendar each year.
Beginning of winter was one of the folk "four seasons and eight festivals" in ancient society. People usually hold sacrificial activities.The Chinese folks regard Lidong as the beginning of winter. During Lidong, it is necessary to supplement the food custom to survive the severe winter. In the south, people like to eat chicken, duck and fish, and in the north, people like to eat dumplings.
(1) Worship winter
Worship winter also means celebrate winter, this custom originated in the Han Dynasty. Around the beginning of winter, the earth was frozen and the agricultural busy year came to end. Therefore, in the past, the beginning of winter was like the New Year's Day, which was a very ritual festival. The ancient emperor would lead the civil and military officials to set up altars to worship on the day of the beginning of winter, and hold a winter welcoming ceremony to pray for good weather and prosperity in the coming year. After the Song Dynasty, the people wore their new clothes to celebrate, just like the New Year. Until the period of the Republic of China, Apprentice and school running were still selected on the beginning of winter.
(2) Patch winter
In the folk, there is a custom of starting winter to replenish winter. There is a proverb says that: "Starting the winter to replenish the winter, make up the empty mouth". From the beginning of the winter, Yang is hidden and cold evil is on the order. At this time, taking food supplements can replenish vitality to resist the severe cold in winter. But this does not mean that you can eat indiscriminately. Lidong eats more white foods. Doctors believe that from the perspective of five elements and five colors, you should eat more "white" foods after Lidong to maintain health, such as cabbage, white radish, etc., which may also be appropriate to eat more lean meats, eggs, beans, and beans that are rich in carbohydrates and fats, which can not only strengthen the body, but also play a good role in keeping out the cold.
(3) Eat dumplings
As the saying goes: "Lidong doesn't serve dumpling bowls, and no one cares about freezing the ears." The custom in Lidong is to eat dumplings. The shape of dumplings resembles ears, so the ancients believed that after eating dumplings, the ears are not easy to be frozen. It is said that dumplings were invented by the medical sage ZhangZhongjing. He wrapped mutton, chili peppers and some anti-cold medicine in the dough. Because their shapes are very similar to ears, it was originally called "Jiao Er".
(4) Raising and storing
Li Bai’s poem "Li Dong" said that : "it’s too lazy to write new verses, cold dew and wine are always warm". After self-sustaining in winter, the sunshine time is shortened, and people's daily life should also conform to the laws of nature, focusing on raising and storing. So we need to pay attention to the large temperature difference between morning and evening at this time. After outdoor exercise, sweating is easy to suffer from cold. Therefore, morning exercise after Lidong is recommended to be done indoors
The old often say that Lidong is a very important solar term. If having a good meal in Lidong, you will have a good winter. Haruki Murakami also said: Life needs a sense of ritual. The greatest ritual of this solar term in Lidong is to eat hot dumplings with family and friends. Even if this city is only you, remember to eat dumplings so that your ears will not be frozen all winter!
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