Snow is one of the elements that help to make winter lovable for many, and it should not be far way when Major Snow arrives.
Daxue, or “Major Snow,” is the 21st of the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar year. It also marks midwinter. Compared with “Minor Snow,” Daxue does not necessarily have more snowfall but the possibility of snowy days grows bigger.
In northern China, the temperature usually plunges below zero and snowstorms packed with dry wind are frequent at this time of year. In the south, the winter is milder; large swaths of land remain covered in green and the air is moister with occasional rain and fog.
But with most families equipped with heating, winter in the north is not harder to endure than the south.
A perfect season for skiing and skating
Snow is welcomed by most Chinese farmers because it can protect crops from cold fronts and keep the lands warm. Additionally, the melted snow can provide enough water for the crops in the spring. The Chinese even have an old saying for it, “A fall of seasonal snow gives promise of a fruitful year.”
But the snow could promise more than a fruitful year; it also promises a picturesque landscape of silver white and a favorable season for skiing and skating.
Many people prefer to travel to northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province during the winter, for there are quite a handful of attractions – ice sculptures, rime natural scenery and ski resorts – as well as a trip to the country's northernmost village Mohe. All the ingredients for a wonderful winter vacation.
Many other areas have seen growing enthusiasm for winter sports as well. As China gears up for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, an increasing number of people have found their interests in skiing, skating and ice hockey.
Despite the professional ski resorts and skating rinks, many Chinese still prefer to skate on frozen rivers. For instance, in Beijing, the lakes in the historic scenic areas such as Shichahai and Summer Palace turn into natural skating areas in the winter. Compared with indoor skating, the frozen lakes and rivers, with beautiful settings of historical relics, are preferable to many.
Admiring the snow while enjoying hot pot
Winter is a time of enjoying delicious food, with the best excuse of defending against the cold. With the harvested crops, vegetables and meat in storage, it's time to sit at the table and have a mouthful of the year’s fruits.
Many families make their own salted meat with various kinds of seasoning, such as anise, cinnamon, pepper and sugar. After cooked and pickled for several days, the meat is dried and preserved. It will then become one of the choices on the table during the Spring Festival.
Oranges and grapefruit are also seasonal during this time. Rich in vitamins, they help to strengthen the body's immunity during the flu season.
An enjoyable way of spending time in a warm room is by drinking hot wine and eating hot pot while admiring snowflakes falling from the sky. It used to be one of the ancient Chinese people’s favorite ways of killing time during the winter.
Before long, the plum blossom would even add pleasures to such occasions, as well as topics and inspiration for Chinese literature and poems.
Whether you stay indoors or travel afar, the winter will never be boring with snow. Just remember one thing: put on your heavy coat and scarf before stepping out.