Joe's Quest

The Counting 9 in China

In China, it was called “Winter’s Coming Day” yesterday, which means it becomes really cold from the day.  And it’s the first day of a consuetude called “Counting 9” in China. “Counting 9” is a period including 81 days. Every 9 days is a group. There are 9 groups total, named by “1st 9”, “2nd 9”, till “9th 9”. 

  The farmers use the Counting 9 to remind the timing of planting. A little poem about Counting 9 comes down orally. It helps people to memorize the 9 groups of days. I try to translate it into English as follows:

Counting 9
1st 9, 2nd 9. Even the alcohol is frozen.
3rd 9, 4th 9. Shout to the dog in the yard with the door closed.
5th 9, 6th 9. Time to walk around outside.
7th 9. The ice in the river is thawing.
8th 9. The wide geese return to north.
9th 9 could not even be called the 9, for the farm cattles are working already.

  Sounds not so smooth when reading. I shall change the wording then. The meaning is almost the same.

  People eat mutton dumplings in Winter’s Coming Day. It is said that the day is so cold that even your ears might be frozen and drop off from your head. Eating mutton can keep your body warm. In the mean time, the dumplings which look like ears could bless you keeping the ears on the head:) 
  I was about to have dumplings for dinner yesterday. But finally I forgot when chating with friend and ate noodles instead(which, in custom, should be eaten in “Summer’s Coming Day” ^_^). Luckly, Shanghai is not as cold as BJ, my ears are safe. Even so, the weather was not so comfortable yesterday. A typical Shanghai rainy day. All the raindrops were tiny, flying to every direction with no purpose. That means the umbrella is useless. It also results in the colder day today. Staying home is a good choice, typing some words, just like what I am doing now…

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