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Home24 Solar TermsDahan 大寒 – 24 Solar Terms

Dahan 大寒 – 24 Solar Terms

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Date: January 19 (20 or 21) Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 315°


Chinese Name: 大寒

English Name: Dahan; Major Cold(Greater Cold); the 24th of the 24 Solar Terms

Date: January 19 (20 or 21)

Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 315°

Dahan 大寒
Dahan 大寒

Brief Introduction

Dahan 大寒 is the 24th of the 24 Solar Terms二十四节气. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 300° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 315°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 300°. Major Cold is the last solar term in winter and also the last solar term in the annual lunar calendar. During this period, snow, rain and icy cold weather exert a big influence on people’s lives.

During Dahan, 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 Major Cold is not colder than Minor Cold, the lowest temperatures of the whole year still occur in the Major Cold period in some coastal areas.

Winter scenery 冬景


Climatic Change

During the Major cold solar term, the atmospheric circulation is relatively stable, and the circulation adjustment period is about 20 days. During this kind of circulation adjustment, there are often widespread rain and snow weather and strong winds to cool down. Like Xiaohan, Dahan is also a solar term that indicates how cold the weather is.

According to my country’s perennial climate data statistics, the coldest time period of the year in northern my country is in mid-January of the Gregorian calendar every year. The annual Xiaohan solar term starts from January 5-7, a solar term is about 15 days, and the middle is just within the Xiaohan solar term. Therefore, for most of the northern regions, the minor cold is indeed colder than the major cold. The Great Cold solar term in the south generally begins on January 20, and late January is the coldest period of the year in the south.

Major Cold 大寒


Health tips in Dahan

Dahan is the last solar term in the lunar year, and it is also recognized as a good season for nourishment. The Major Cold is a transitional period from winter to spring. Dahan is a transitional period from winter to spring. A healthy-preserving diet should reduce salty and increase bitterness to nourish heart qi, and eat hot food to prevent damage to the spleen and stomach yang qi, but do not eat too many things that are dry and hot.

During the severe cold season, people should still adapt to the characteristics of winter closure in their daily life. In order to avoid the invasion of cold wind, it should be done early to bed and late to rise, and work and rest should be combined. When going out, you should also add warm clothes according to your own conditions. If the indoor heating or air conditioning is often turned on, in addition to opening windows frequently for ventilation, it is best to increase the humidity in the air by using an air humidifier and other methods.

Folk-Custom Activity

Eating sticky rice 吃糯米饭

On a very cold day in the traditional solar term, the folks of Guangdong formed the custom of eating Eating sticky rice. Today in Guangdong, it is common to see such a scene before the onset of the big cold, every household cooks a pot of fragrant glutinous rice, mixed with preserved meat, dried shrimp, dried squid, mushrooms, etc., to welcome the coldest day in the traditional solar term. In addition, glutinous rice is sweet in taste and warm in nature. Eating it has the effect of keeping out the cold and nourishing the body.

sticky rice 糯米饭
sticky rice 糯米饭

Eating “dispelling cold cake” 吃“散寒糕”

During Dahan, People in Beijing have a habit of eating “dispelling cold cake”, a kind of rice cake. In Chinese, the word “rice cake” has the same pronunciation as the word “higher in a new year”, which symbolizes good luck and continual promotion.

dispelling cold cake 散寒糕
dispelling cold cake 散寒糕

Buying sesame straw 买芝麻

Major Cold always coincides with the end of the year in the 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.

sesame straw 芝麻
sesame straw 芝麻

Eating fried spring rolls 吃炸春卷

Fried spring rolls are traditional Chinese holiday food, a kind of fried food, popular all over China, especially in Jiangnan and other places. In addition to eating at home, folks are also often used to entertain guests. In Anqing of Anhui province, people traditionally eat fried spring rolls during Major Cold. The stuffing inside the spring roll contains meat or vegetables and the flavour can be salty or sweet.


fried spring rolls 炸春卷
fried spring rolls 炸春卷

Dahan (大寒)

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