About the Start of Winter (li dong)  

According to the book of 24 solar terms, “Dong (winter), is the end, the collection of everything.” This means that the autumn crops have been harvested and animals have hidden to prepare for hibernation. Around the Start of Winter, the surface of the earth has stored some heat after a summer of exposure. Thus the weather is not cold. Even in the sunny days, people feel like it’s spring. The weather, neither hot nor cold, is very pleasant, and good for the growth of the winter crops. Of course, after Start of Winter Day, the cold air from Siberia will come unexpectedly, leading to strong wind, dropping temperatures, snow and rain. In a sense, the Start of Winter is a reminder for people to concern themselves with the change of weather and life.

There are many ancient poems about the Start of Winter. In The Start of Winter, by Wang Zhi, a poet of Ming Dynasty, he writes:

“The autumn wind blows on the old tree in the courtyard, The guest comes through the flying leaves of yellow and red. A light in the temple and a half moon beside it, Tonight is colder than last.”

The winter comes after the autumn, and all leaves have fallen to the ground. The lonely traveler is accompanied only by the moon. The weather is colder when one is alone.

The great poet Li Bai of Tang Dynasty also has a poem about the “Start of Winter”:

“My writing brush has gotten frozen, New poems are hard to write; Close to the stove, I heat my wine now and then. In drunkenness, I saw the white moonlight on the ground, As the snow covers the whole country.”

Source: Zhengzhou Daily

Translated by Zhang Min

Editor: Wen Yi

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