The beginning of winter is the first solar term of winter, which means winter is coming and crops harvested in autumn should be stored up.
A legend has it that at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD25-220), “Medical Saint” Zhang Zhongjing saved many people in Henan province from a typhoidepidemic and their ears’ from being frostbitten around Start of Winter.
He cooked mutton, hot peppers and herbs to dispel the cold and increase body heat. He wrapped these ingredients into a dough skin and made them into an ear shape. Since then, people have learned to make the food which became known as “dumpling”. Today there is still a saying that goes “Eat dumplings on Start of Winter Day, or your ears will be frostbitten”.Therefore, everyone will eat dumplings in the beginning of winter.