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« Extreme cold » 大寒 arrived with a promise of a new year

January 20 marked the beginning of the 24th and last solar term of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, “Great Cold” 大寒 (dà hán). A solar term lasts 15 or 16 days and refers to one of the 24 periods of the calendar corresponding to an astronomical event or a natural phenomenon. It is the promise of a new year and gathering of experience according to two Chinese proverbs (大寒过年,总结经验 dàhán guònián, zǒngjié jīngyàn; and 过了大寒,又是一年 guò le dàhán, yòu shì yī ni) . As it suggests, and as you have no doubt felt this past week, this solar term reflects the coldest time of the year.



source: 云南网



Although we are in winter - the season of withdrawal, introspection, reserve - the yáng forces (related to heat) have already begun their growth (in order to warm and revive and beat the movement of life). As shown by the corresponding hexagram of the previous solar term "Little cold", named "the Return" (of the yáng), yáng is slowly resurfacing (full bar at the bottom of the left hexagram below). The “Great Cold” hexagram (on the right below), meanwhile, has a second full bar (the yáng increases). And yet it is so cold! Amazing… Why is there freezing cold if the yáng is already gaining momentum? Because the winter is launched at full speed and the nascent yáng cannot yet “turn the tide”. And then let's not forget that yīn and yáng are never separated (otherwise life ceases says the Neijing).

䷗ ䷒


To end well this Chinese lunisolar year, and respect the natural cycle it describes, continue to eat well and avoid too many cold, raw or fatty foods, in order to protect the digestive system, which will allow a good growth of the yáng from the beginning of spring. Ideally, you have already read my post on rice gruel, and even better, you have integrated it into your habits, at breakfast for example. The other important point, in cold weather, is to preserve the heat of the body. As the saying goes 大寒节气,防寒保暖 (dàhán jiéqi, fánghán bạ̌onuǎn): "In the period of the "Extreme cold", preserve yourself from the cold and keep warm" . It is therefore necessary to nourish the kidneys, of which winter is the season. For example, you could make chicken broth with ginger and goji berries. We will be careful all the same not to create a dry internal environment (skin cracks in winter sound familiar?), too much heat can a dry out liquids. Also in winter, keep following the advice of the Neijing by going to bed early and waking up with the sun.


"In the period of the "Extreme cold", preserve yourself from the cold and keep warm"

Other solutions exist to better prepare you for the change of season, such as self-massages or Chinese gymnastics. All recommendations here are general and never replace specialized and individualized medical advice.

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