The 20th of China's 24 Solar Terms is Xiao Xue, also known as Light Snow or Minor Snow. It is the second solar term in winter and falls on November 22nd. During Light Snow, temperatures decrease, and snow falls. However, the ground is not completely frozen, and the snow is not heavy yet, which explains the term "Light Snow."
Chinese farmers anticipate snow during this time because it indicates a bountiful harvest in the following year.
Minor Snow is a perfect time to prepare preserved foods, such as pork. During the chilly season, preserved foods may be stored for extended periods. Preserved pork is a delicacy during the Spring Festival and a favored choice for family gatherings. Festive cuisine in Southern China includes the consumption of glutinous rice cakes that symbolize harvest and happiness.
Minor Snow is a solar term portraying the weather phenomena in this period, wherein the term refers to light snowfall that doesn't accumulate on the ground. During this period, the weather is cold with a possibility of snow, but the ground is not sufficiently frozen for the snow to accumulate.
After Minor Snow in northern regions, fruit trees are usually pruned by orchardists who wrap the limbs with straw to guard against severe weather. Moreover, it is common practice during this season to store vegetables underground for future consumption, based on an ancient book on plants. The adage suggests storing cabbage in Minor Snow and spinach in Great Snow. Cease watering the cabbage about ten days before harvesting it. The cabbage should then air-dry for three to four days with its roots facing up after the sunny harvest until the leaves become tender. The ditch's depth must be equal to the cabbage's height. The cabbage should be arranged side by side in a trench with the roots facing downward, and covered using cabbage leaves and cornstalks during colder seasons.
In Minor Snow, the northern parts of southern China enter the winter season. During this time, the lotus flowers disappear, the lakes lack rain covers, and the chrysanthemums wither, while frostbitten twigs remain. The Qinling and Daba Mountains in the north prevent the cold air from reaching the southern regions, making winters comparatively milder. Typically, there are fewer than five days of snow per year in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River region. Prior to the Great Snow, the likelihood of snowfall is low. Even during the coldest days, it's difficult for those in the south to grasp the concept of snowfall as "myriads of pear trees burst into blossom" because surface temperatures remain above 0℃, making snow accumulation impossible. In the chilly northwest plateau, snowfall typically begins in October and can last for over 60 days annually. Additionally, certain alpine regions may experience snow year-round.