Start of Winter (lì dōng立冬)
Introduction In the Gregorian calendar, the Start of Winter usually falls around November 7, and more often refers in particular to the day when the sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 225°. As its name suggests, the Start of Winter marks the beginning of winter. By then, farmers have harvested the grains and have stored them in the house, and some animals have begun to hibernate. Customs As one of the four Starts (Start of Winter, Start of Spring, Start of Summer, and Start of Autumn), the Start of Winter has long been an important festival. In ancient times, the emperor, together with many officials, went to the southern suburbs and build altars to carry out great sacrifices to God. Today, people and farmers in particular take one day off after the busy farming seasons and enjoy a large dinner with their families. People in the south enjoy eating chicken, duck, fish, and meat, while people in the north, especially in Beijing and Tianjin, prefer eating dumplings on this day. However, the celebration can also get very creative. For example, in Harbin, people use winter swimming to welcome the winter.