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Solar Terms 101: Little Snow, Little Salt, Cure the Food in the Pot

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The normal Chinese language lunar calendar divides the 12 months into 24 节气 jiéqì photo voltaic phrases based mostly on seasonal modifications and pure phenomenon. They play an necessary position in guiding agricultural actions, even to at the present time. However even city-dwellers like us can get pleasure from them. Every photo voltaic time period has its personal related customs, traditions, and even recipes. In Photo voltaic Phrases 101, we delve into what makes every one particular…

Title of the photo voltaic time period: 小雪 xiǎoxuě lit. “Minor Snow”
Gregorian date: Nov 22 +/- a day (Nov 22, 2020)

What’s xiaoxue all about?

Xiaoxue is the 20th of the 24 photo voltaic phrases. Throughout its reign, the photo voltaic longitude will attain 240 levels which often happens between Nov 22-23. As its title suggests, Xiaoxue is a photo voltaic time period tied with pure meteorologic modifications. Throughout the interval, chilly snaps and blistering winds invade China at a extra frequent tempo, and the air is chilly sufficient to show precipitation from rain to snow, or generally a mix of the two. All of which is to say, the snowy season has begun. Historical Chinese language understood that the temperature of the bottom hasn’t but dropped to its lowest level throughout xiaoxue, so the snow that falls to the bottom at evening will often soften as quickly because the solar reveals its shining face.

The micro-seasons of Xiaoxue

Mockingly, not one of the micro-seasons throughout xiaoxue comprise any point out of snow, however fairly, abstractly depict modifications in nature.

The primary micro-season is 虹藏不见 hóng cáng bùjiàn the vanishing of the rainbow as a result of the air’s remaining moisture is within the strategy of changing into snow, which may’t replicate and refract gentle in the identical manner as a raindrop. Thus, rainbows are a uncommon sight all through the remainder of the 12 months. 

The second micro season, 天气上升地气下降 tiānqì shàngshēng dì qì xiàjiàng the yang power rises to the sky whereas the yin power sinks to the bottom exhibits how the power of our world circulates in conventional Taoist ideology, which holds that the interplay between the yin and yang power creates life, nonetheless, in winter this connection is placed on pause.

That leads us to xiaoxue’s last micro-season, 闭塞而成冬 bìsè ér chéng dōng the circulation of power is reduce off with the beginning of winter. Shedding the connection of yin and yang power to nature is like shedding the engine to a automotive, every part slows down and goes silent.

Cured, preserved, and pickled, take a look at your winter recipe within the pure fridge

The climate might have prevented historical Chinese language from most out of doors actions throughout winter, however getting ready preserved meals that may final lengthy sufficient to help a complete household by the chillier months doubtlessly stored them busy sufficient. In winter, the salt and the howling chilly dry wind are the very best preservatives. Even for a metropolis child like me, I can nonetheless recall my grandma storing and marinating 雪里蕻 xuělǐhóng curled mustard in an enormous jar to function a pickled vegetable on our eating desk. Different widespread vegetable selections embrace radish, Chinese language cabbage, Zha Cai – or pickled mustard plant stem – and so forth. 

The southerners utilized their wit extra on proteins and created numerous forms of 火腿 huǒtuǐ ham, 腊肉 làròu cured meat, and 香肠 xiāngcháng sausages. To make them style nice, rubbing some salt will not be sufficient. Relatively, including assorted spices and numerous smoking procedures are required to supply a genuinely palatable cured meat. If you happen to journey additional south, sun-dried fish will seem on seasonal menus in coastal areas.

And because it takes time for the flavors of preserved meals to mature and be prepared for consumption, folks start preparations throughout xiaoxue, in order that they’re prepared for Spring Competition feasts.

What to eat for xiaoxue

Along with the cured meals above, there’s loads of different recent nibbles to be loved this season. 

Sticky rice is a particular kind of rice that’s often cultivated and consumed within the southern a part of China, serving as the primary ingredient for 糍粑 cíbā , a standard gooey delicacy. It was once provided as a tribute to the God of Ox, however later turned a deal with for widespread of us as effectively. Consuming this snack can also be a enjoyable expertise, in accordance with the previous Hakka saying “糍粑碌碌烧 cíbā lùlù shāo,“ which vividly – albeit not so succinctly – interprets to, “it’s essential to pinch this sticky rice cake with the chopsticks and roll it in a plate stuffed with sesame, peanuts, and sugar, then examine it with your folks and revel in this candy deal with whereas it’s nonetheless heat.”

Lastly, in lots of areas of China, the villagers have fun this photo voltaic time period with a complete pig feast. It’s a time-consuming and arduous meal to make sure, requiring a number of households to work collectively. However after all, the scrumptious rewards are shared by everybody who contributes their efforts, making for one hell of a winter get together.

Learn: Finally, Dim Sum Hits Sanlitun in the Sweet Form of Chua Lam’s

Pictures: Wangjing BBS, Sohu, Dealmoon, Supermommy, CYW, Douguo

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