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The 23rd Solar Term – Lesser Cold

 Arts and Culture

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Lesser Cold (Xiao Han), the 23rd in 24 Solar Terms, falls on January 5th, 2018, marks the beginning of the coldest day of the year.
Here are six things we would like to share about Lesser Cold. 
 
 
“Sanjiu period” (the third nine-day period)
There is an old saying in China that weather in the third nine-day period is colder than any other period during the nine nine-days. "The third nine-day period" refers to the 19th to 27th days after the Winter Solstice (the day usually falls between 21th and 23th of December). According to Solar Terms, Lesser Cold is often a day during the third nine-days. As it is the most frozen time of winter, it's important to keep warm during this period.
Healthy foods 
To keep warm, healthy, and  avoid being sick in the cold days, it is suggested to have some energizing food, such as trout, peppers, cinnamon, leeks, fennel, parsley and so on. Additionally, hot pot and braised mutton are perfect choices.
Winter exercise  
Another old saying in China, "exercise in winter makes people stronger" shows the significance of winter exercise. Generally speaking, in order to achieve the goal of being fit and keeping warm, Chinese children play some special games, such as “iron-hoop rolling” and “fighting cocks”.
Tianjin - Yellow bud cabbages
The habit of eating yellow bud cabbages (a kind of Chinese cabbage) during the Lesser Cold period has been popular for many years in the city of Tianjin. Rich in vitamin A and vitamin B, fresh yellow bud cabbages are quite delicious after being fried, broiled, stewed, or other cooking techniques.
Guangdong -- glutinous rice 
It is traditional for Cantonese to eat a bowl of glutinous rice in the morning during Lesser Cold. The traditional fried pork, sausage and peanuts are added to the glutinous rice. According to the traditional Chinese medicine theory, having some glutinous rice is effective in invigorating the spleen and replenishing the stomach during the cold season.
Nanjing – Nanjing “Jambalaya” 
In the daytime of Moderate Cold, residents of Nanjing generally eat a special cuisine - a mixture of vegetables, meat and rice, which is similar to Jambalaya. For the meat part, traditional Nanjing residents like sausage or diced pressed salted duck; for the vegetable part, they use local greens. Apart from all these famous Nanjing specialties, some ginger grains are boiled with the rice to improve the freshness. The Nanjing “Jambalaya” is not less famous than “Laba rice porridge”.
By: Wei Shanshan
Editors: Qin Mian and Keith Harrington
Photo: Yang Yaqian