The Winter Solstice 冬至
The Winter Solstice indicates the period of winter and people always want to keep themselves warm. In the northern China where the weather can be bitterly cold, our ancestors lacked sufficient warm clothing and would eat hot food to keep warm. Gradually there came a saying that only by eating dumplings can you avoid becoming so frozen that your ears drop off. Thus this custom is still widespread and on that day we eat steaming hot and delicious dumplings. In China we have a custom of counting nine (“Shu Jiu”), that is, from the Winter Solstice people calculated the number of days until a change of climate came about. Usually nine days is a section, there are a total of nine sections from the first Jiu to the ninth Jiu. In the folklore there is a widely prevailing ballad the general meaning of which is that：in the first and second Jiu (a section of nine days)，we can't take our hands outside； in the third and fourth Jiu we walk on the ice；in the fifth and sixth Jiu we see the light green willow；in the seventh Jiu our river thaws and in the eighth swallows come；in the ninth cattle begin to work.