Chinese Name: 大雪
English Name: Daxue; Major snow(Heavy snow); the 21st of the 24 Solar Terms
Date: December 6 (7 or 8)
Sun Position: Celestial Longitude of 255°
Daxue 大雪 is the 21st of the 24 Solar Terms二十四节气. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 255° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 270°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 255°. The Daxue solar term is the same as the Xiaoxue solar term. Both reflect the changing trend of temperature and precipitation. It is a reflection of the ancient farming culture of the season.
During Major Snow, the snow becomes heavy and begins to accumulate on the ground. The temperature drops significantly. The snow in North China may last a whole day, breaking tree branches and blocking the road. The natural scenery is “hundreds of leagues ice-bound go; over thousands of leagues flies snow”. In the south, snowflakes fall and the world turns white.
A proverb about the snow says, “A timely snow promises a good harvest”. As the snow covers the ground, the low winter temperature kills pests.
Daxue is a solar term that reflects the characteristics of the climate. The characteristics of the heavy snow solar term are that the temperature drops significantly and the precipitation increases. During the Major snow, most parts of China have entered winter, and the minimum temperature has dropped to 0°C or below.
In the areas where the cold and warm air clash in front of the strong cold air, heavy snow or even blizzard will fall. At this time, the area of the Yellow River黄河 Basin was gradually accumulating snow, and further north, it was snowing heavily.
As a matter of fact, the most snowy solar term in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River and its surrounding areas is neither “Xiaoxue” nor “Daxue “, but the Yushui solar term in late February. The reason is that in late February, the coldest period of the year has passed, and the warm air in the south begins to enrich the water vapour. At this time, the cold air in the north is still very strong, and the cold and heat are mixed, which makes it more likely to fall heavily.
Health tips in Daxue
In winter, it is advisable to go to bed early and get up late. Moreover, it’s not recommended to get up before the sun is up, which can avoid the severe cold and preserve the Yin阴 of the human body. Best to do it in the morning after the sun comes out. In the weather with turbid air and thick fog covering the sky, it is best not to exercise outdoors, but to exercise indoors. Additionally, winter food supplements should provide foods rich in protein, vitamins and easy to digest such as eggs, fish, green vegetables, etc.
During the Daxue, Chinese people watch for outbreaks of respiratory illness, which can be prevented by wearing a warm scarf to protect the neck and properly drinking water. During heavy snow, the weather is dry and cold, so people should pay attention to hydration.
Appreciating Prunus mume blossoms 赏梅花
Prunus mume is an East Asian and Southeast Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus subgenus Prunus. The flower, long a beloved subject in the traditional painting and poetry of East Asia, is usually called plum blossom. Plum blossoms usually flower in mid-to-late December in some southern cities of China and sometimes bloom even earlier. Plum blossoms are listed as four gentlemen together with orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum. In traditional Chinese culture, plum, with her noble, strong and humble character, inspires people to work hard.
Eating Lamb 吃羊肉
Lamb is a favourite food for Chinese people during Major Snow. It’s excellent for nourishing the body, promoting blood circulation and providing protection against the cold. People in Chongqing重庆 like to have potted lamb soup or stewed lamb soup with their families and friends. Nanjing residents like to stew lamb with yams or wolfberries to make it more nutritious.
Making preserved pork 腌猪肉
The folk custom of marinating pork is not only in the Minor snow solar term, it is also very popular during Major snow. People soak the pork in salt water for about 12 hours. After the salt penetrates into the meat, filter out the salt water and let it dry until half dry.
Fry the glutinous rice until browned, pour it from the pot into the basin, sprinkle with an appropriate amount of white wine and cover tightly to make it explode and swell for later use. Then pour the prepared seasoning into the pieces of meat in the basin and knead, so that the meat pieces are soaked in the above seasonings, and then put them in a crock to marinate.