Minor Snow, also known as “Xiao Xue” in Chinese, begins on November 22 this year (2023). It is the 20th solar term of the Chinese lunar year, followed by the Major Snow (Da Xue) on December 7. As indicated by the name, the period refers to the time of year when the weather starts getting colder. In most of the northern areas in China, the temperature gradually drops to below zero degree. And it begins to snow.
According to an old Chinese saying, “If the sky is full of snow during Minor Snow, next year will be a harvest year.” The right kind of weather during Minor Snow can benefit the agricultural sector (部门). Low temperatures accompanying the snow can kill some hidden pests and bacteria in the soil, which can diminish harmful insects and diseases in the following year. More importantly, snow cover on the soil acts like a blanket to keep the soil warm. This is favorable for the decomposing (分解) process of organic matter in the soil, which will make it more able to support the growth of strong healthy plants.
It seems the Chinese just never let go of any chance to enjoy delicious food. In the north, people eat hotpot and mutton, which are believed warm and nutritious. Besides, sitting around the steaming pots with family and friends could easily create a warm atmosphere. In some southern provinces, people have the tradition of eating “Ci Ba”, a kind of dessert made of sticky rice. In the past, people used the dessert as an offering to the god of cow. Though delicious, it is better not to eat much, for the dessert could not be easily digested.
The winter is in dominance, but it does not necessarily mean that people should be limited at home. A little bit outdoor sports could be more beneficial to health than any nutrition.