"So-han" 22nd Season Cycle: Korea's Season of Frosty Splendor

So-han, an integral part of Korea's 24 seasonal divisions, marks a time of profound cold, usually falling around January 5th or 6th. It represents the seasonal rhythm deeply ingrained in Korean culture, reflecting a history that intertwines nature with tradition.

The So-han Cold Wave

In 6th January 2024, So-han brought a noteworthy cold wave across Korea. The Korea Meteorological Administration reported a sharp temperature decline in the central regions, with sub-zero temperatures and snowfall predictions. Seoul, for instance, saw a significant temperature drop, emphasizing the season's unpredictability and its impact on daily life.

Delving into the details of So-han, this period is traditionally known for its climatic unpredictability. It can be the coldest time of the year, or occasionally, a milder phase of winter. This characteristic led to the saying, '대한이 소한 집에 놀러 갔다가 얼어 죽었다' (Daehan went to So-han's house and froze to death). This reflects the cultural perception of So-han's severity in Korea.

Agricultural Roots and Rhythms

Historically, So-han was crucial for agricultural planning, as farmers prepared for the harshest winter conditions. The period between So-han and Daehan is known for the '삼한사온' (three days cold, four days warm) pattern, signaling the transition from mid to late winter. Additionally, it is the period with the latest sunrise in the 24-season cycle.

Adapting to Climate Change

In recent years, climate change has started to reshape So-han's traditional weather patterns. The cold waves are becoming less predictable, and the temperatures during Daehan are rising. These changes are not just meteorological but also cultural, as they influence traditional practices and perceptions of the seasons.

So-han's cultural significance extends to food as well. Seasonal specialties like cockles, tangerines, sweet potatoes, and strawberries are part of the So-han diet, reflecting the harmony between the Korean lifestyle and the rhythms of nature.

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