Chinese Solar Terms: Slow Down and Sleep Long for Winter Health

Solar Term: 'Light Snow' (Nov. 22–Dec. 6)
By Moreen Liao
Moreen Liao
Moreen Liao
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit LiaoMoreen.com
November 15, 2021 Updated: November 15, 2021

A solar term is a period of about two weeks and is based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each of the year’s 24 solar terms, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.

Solar Term: “Light Snow”

2021 Date: Nov. 22–Dec. 6

“Light Snow” (Nov. 22 through Dec. 6) is the second solar term of winter, and it’s unlike any other, according to traditional Chinese wisdom. During this time, the yang energy from the sun moves toward the heavens, and the yin energy retreats deep into the earth.

At this time, a unique phenomenon unfolds in nature as yin and yang’s extreme separation creates a gap and energy circulation stops. Symbolically, winter represents death.

Winter deepens as the fine snow starts to fall like powdered sugar sprinkling onto cookies and cakes. This snow is often wet or mixed with rain. It’s light and melts easily. Some may find this type of snow very poetic; a scene that presents an atmosphere of serenity and purity.

In ancient China, during the time of Light Snow, if there was no snow, farmers would lay off some of their permanent staff or send them away for a long break. This came from previous experience.

Because if the weather was still warm around this time, it was expected that insects would proliferate the following year, and the harvest would be affected.

Effects on People

Those who already suffer from depression may find that it gets worse during this period of time.

Traditional Chinese medicine believes in moderation and suggests that we avoid the seven extreme emotions, as they affect one’s mood and harm health. These emotions are joy, anger, worry, thinking, grief, fear, and shock.

Dr. Shang Wu, from the Qing Dynasty, recommends that we appreciate beautiful flowers if we’re stuck in emotions. Music can also help dissolve one’s worries.

5 Tips to Living in Harmony With ‘Light Snow’

  1. Sit on a chair. Lift your feet off the ground and knock your feet together 12 times.
  2. Soak your feet in warm water before going to bed.
  3. Go to bed early and get up late to preserve yang energy.
  4. Wear a turtleneck or scarf to protect the neck area.
  5. Cover your waist and lower back with clothing made with natural fibers, such as cashmere, wool, silk, or a cotton blend.

Seasonal Foods

This is the perfect time to make preserved meat and vegetables.

A traditional recipe is to make a spice rub from ground peppercorns, anise, fennel, clove, cinnamon, and sea salt. Cover the meat with the spices and store it inside a clay pot for 15 days in the fridge to avoid bacteria growth. Next, hang the preserved meat in a cold and airy area for 3 to 7 days. Finally, use peanut shells or cypress branches to smoke the meat until it’s nicely dried and well preserved.

Warm milk tea is excellent to repel the winter chill. Enjoy it with nuts or a ginger cookie. Warm fruit wines are also great. It’s wonderful if you add in goji berries or preserved fruits before heating. Just a little bit is enough, and be careful not to drink too much. Some may find it pleasant to add cinnamon and honey to sweeten the heart.

Bean soups, such as kidney beans, red beans, white beans, soybeans, or peanuts with ginger root, are delicious and help one to feel joyful during cold days.

Slow cookers or clay pots are the best tools for slow winter cooking. Ginger is also excellent. The warming powers of ginger and cinnamon are especially helpful to push excess humidity out from inside our bodies. Those who don’t enjoy ginger can use coconut milk and cinnamon instead.

Helpful foods for this time include banana, carrot, citrus, pumpkin, shiitake mushrooms, truffles, black beans, cashew nuts, black sesame seeds, tomatoes, celery, and walnuts.

Seasonal Essential Oils

Adding seasonal oils to bathwater, warm foot baths, or in oil burners can help to create balance during this season. Essential oils of bergamot, orange, mandarin, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, rose, lemon balm, verbena, and galanga are all good.

Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit Liaomoreen.com.

Moreen Liao
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit LiaoMoreen.com