What is Ritto:
During this time of the season in Japan, there is a word that describes the beginning of winter and it is called Ritto (立冬). “立” represents the beginning of the season and “冬” means winter. Ritto is one of the terms that belong to Nijushi Sekki (二十四節気) or 24 Solar Terms that came from ancient China. During the lunisolar calendar era, the 24 Solar Terms were valued in agriculture as an indicator of the changing season.
When is Ritto:
Depending on the year the day changes, but this year it is November 7th. As explained above, Ritto means the beginning of winter, but there is a discrepancy with the actual sense of the season. This is because there is a difference between the climate in China and Japan. So, even though the calendar indicates the beginning of winter because November is the fall foliage season in Japan, it may still feel like autumn instead of winter. Even though it may still be like autumn, signs of winter could be seen by the first wintery wind being announced or the first snowfall seen in Hokkaido.
What do people do on the day of Ritto:
There are no special customs or food for Ritto. However, around the beginning of November is when the temperature starts to drop, and it is cold and flu season so many Japanese people eat hot pots or soups to warm themselves. In addition, people eat seasonal food such as squash and ginger, to nourish their bodies in preparation for the winter.