"Winter Solstice" is one of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese Lunar calendar. It is on different dates every year and this time it falls on December 21. The Sun reaches its southernmost declination at the tropic of Capricorn on that day. In the northern hemisphere, people observe the shortest daytime of a year on the winter solstice which marks the beginning of the chilly winter.
To make life easier, the Chinese people have a tradition of counting the winter in Nines. Every nine days is a Nine and after nine Nines, the winter goes and the spring comes. For each Nine, they have their special sayings. For example, The stones is split into pieces due to the chilly weather during the third and fourth Nine, or, Migrating birds fly back to the north from the warm south when it is the ninth Nine, which is roughly in the middle of March.
Meanwhile, people developed different dishes and soups for the nine Nines to keep them warm and healthy in the chilly days.
The folk law expert said: "It’s good to mark the traditional winter Solstice in this way. It’s a good opportunity for young people to know more about our own culture.”
Based on the Counting Nines custom and Fu Character Culture, from now on, Laoshe Teahouse in Beijing holds a series of activities to introduce the old traditions and cuisines to the young generation. Nutritious porridge and casserole and other vegetarian feasts will find their ways back to modern lives as folk activities do.