Blog entry

Lantern Festival 2018

Today is Lantern Festival  元宵节. It falls on the 15th of the first month of the lunar new year i.e. the night of the first full moon. It marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. Traditional activities include admiring lanterns and the full moon, guessing lantern riddles, eating tangyuan (glutinous rice dumplings), enjoying lion dance and stilt-walking performances.

Today is the Eve of Chinese New Year!

Today is Chinese New Year's Eve in China/Taiwan/Hong Kong as well as Singapore (same time zone UST+8 ).祝大家狗年身体健康,财源滚滚!

立春 (lichun) Start of Spring 04 Feb 2018

Today is  立春! The first solar term of a new year signaling the beginning of the spring season.

More info about the festival: https://www.chinatravel.com/facts/lichun.htm

Traditional foods for this festival include radish, spring pancake and spring roll.

Happy Laba Festival 腊八节 !

The twelfth lunar month is called 腊月 ("la" month) and this festival is celebrated on the eighth 八(ba), hence it is called Laba Festival.

Originally it started as a day for worshiping gods and ancestors, after Buddhism was introduced to China, it also became associated with the Buddha. Some of the most well-known foods associated with this festival are Laba Congee (made with healthy grains, beans and dried fruit) and green garlic. In Northern China, cloves of garlic are pickled in vinegar which eventually turns them bright green.

大寒 (Dahan) Great Cold 20 Jan 2018

大寒 (Dahan or Great Cold) which falls on 20 January in 2018 is the last of the twenty four solar terms under the traditional Chinese calendar. It is time to get rid of the old and bring in the new for the upcoming new year. This is also a period when Chinese companies hold year end parties 尾牙 (wei ya) for their employees and offerings to the kitchen god are traditionally made.

小寒 (Xiaohan) Minor Cold 5 Jan 2017

小寒 (Xiaohan or Minor Cold) which falls on 5 January in 2018 is the second last of the twenty four solar terms under the traditional Chinese calendar. It is a time for eating warming foods like mutton hotpot, exercising/strengthening one's body and starting preparations for the upcoming Spring Festival such as writing spring couplets and buying New Year decorations. Some traditional regional foods eaten during this period include cabbage in Tianjin, vegetable rice in Nanjing and glutinous rice in Guangdong.

大雪 (Daxue) Major Snow 7 November 2017

Night Snow

 雪 (daxue) meaning "Major Snow" is the 21st solar term under the traditional Chinese lunar calendar and the third winter solar term. The weather turns colder and there is a greater possibility of snow, especially heavy snows.

I have copied out Tang dynasty poet 白居易 Bai Juyi's 《夜雪》(Night Snow) with a glass pen and black ink with blue shimmer (the shimmer is hard to photograph).

For those curious, a English translation of the poem is here.

小雪 (Xiaoxue) Minor Snow 22 November

小雪 (Xiaoxue) meaning "Minor Snow" in the second winter solar term under the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. It marks the beginning of snowfall in North China and there is a folk custom of making preserved pork and sausages at this time so that they would be ready to eat in time for the Spring Festival. In the south, some areas will eat glutinous rice cakes.

Start of Winter 立冬 (Lidong) 7 Nov

 

立冬 (Lidong) is one of the 24 solar terms under the Chinese lunar calendar and marks the start of winter as its name suggests. Under the old agricultural society, it's time to rest, prepare the farm for winter and eat nourishing food for good health to fortify oneself against the coming cold. In Northern China, it is customary to eat dumplings on this day. In Southern China where the weather is warmer, meat/fowl/fish is eaten.