In the Gregorian calendar, the Major Cold usually falls around January 20, and more often refers in particular to the day when the sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 300°. Similar to the Minor Cold, the Major Cold reflects the coldness of winter. During this period, it is the coldest in most areas of China.
According to folk customs of the Major Cold, and especially in the countryside, people are busy ringing out the old and ringing in the new to prepare for the Spring Festival to come. There are many festivals during this period, including the Weiya Sacrifice (observance on the 16th day of the 12th month in the lunar calendar when every business owner entertains all employees at a dinner party), Ji Zhao (offering sacrifices to the kitchen god), and New Year's Eve. Sometimes, even the Spring Festival falls around this solar term. Among these festivals, the Weiya Sacrifice is the most special. It goes like this: on the 16th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, every business owner entertains his or her employees. Chopped cold chicken is an indispensable dish at the dinner party, but it is said that whoever the chicken head points to will be fired in the coming year. Therefore, when at the dinner the boss points the chicken head toward himself or herself, to comfort employees and wish them a happy new year.
I updated this article on August 5, 2013
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