You are currently viewing 24 Solar Terms – Minor Cold

24 Solar Terms – Minor Cold

Minor Cold, or Xiǎohán(小寒) is the 23rd of the 24 Chinese Solar terms. This year (2022) it starts on January 5th. Despite the name – Minor Cold – usually it is the coldest period of winter, which falls on the third nine-day period, or sānjiǔ. The cold weather will be in the city until the end of the next Solar term – Major Cold.


As Xiǎohán is the coldest period, Chinese people have special ways to keep warm and not catch a cold. The first Chinese tip is to be active – do some winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and so on.

activities to do during the Minor Cold i China

Children have special winter games. For example, hoop rolling – with a wire or iron bar in their hands, they have to roll a hoop (with a diameter of about 66cm) keeping it balanced upright, without letting it fall. Usually children try to do it as fast as possible to be the first among friends. The biggest fun is to have races or competitions.

Not trained to make movements on the ice like those professionals? Well, it doesn’t stop kids from having fun! When the rivers or lakes are frozen, you will find kids spending a long time there, whipping tops on the icy surface, glide along on ice carts and doing other fun activities.

glide along the frozen rivers and lakes in China

And of course, if you are living in an area of China with hot springs, then you are luckier than others. Think about it, it’s been snowing for some time, everything is covered in white, but the steam of the hot spring wafts over enticingly. So, just give in, slip into the blessed warmth, and while away the winter hours.

hot springs in China


Another tip from Chinese people to keep warm is food, of course. As it is extremely cold, different kinds of dishes are cooked to give warmth to people. This time of year, hot pot is the perfect decision for a hearty meal. Then again, is there ever a bad time for hotpot? Check out our article about the best hotpot restaurants in Shenyang.
Other popular meals around China are braised mutton with soy sauce, and 白菜 (báicài, called huángyácài in the south of China) , because of its richness in vitamins A and B – a kind of Chinese cabbage which is good for frying, roasting and braising.

chinese cabbage

In Canton, glutinous rice flour mixed with fried preserved pork, sausage and peanuts is popular for breakfast because, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this kind of rice is very good for the stomach and helps with digestion.

glutinous rice flour mixed with fried preserved pork, sausage and peanuts

In the Northeast, local people cook Làbā rice porridge on the night of the seventh day of the twelfth lunar month and eat it the next day. This porridge is made from more than 20 kinds of nuts, grains and dried fruits.

rice porridge

During Minor Cold, the Chinese start to prepare for the most important festival – Chinese New Year. So, you will find a lot of stuff in markets to decorate your home and prepare for the celebration (couplets, paper-cuts, fire crackers, lanterns, Chinese knots, red envelopes etc.).

Chinese decoration for the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year

So, are you prepared for the coldest time of winter? Our suggestion would be to stay warm by doing winter activities, eating warm food and preparing yourselves (and your apartments) for the coming of Chinese Spring Festival. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy your winter in Shenyang with Journeys & Jaunts!

This Post Has 2 Comments

Leave a Reply