After many failures to enter the winter, the Cantonese ushered in the winter solstice. The saying “Winter Solstice Great New Year” is accepted by most Cantonese people, and Xinhui people are no exception. On this day, Xinhui people have customs such as worshipping their ancestors, eating reunion dinners, and eating glutinous rice balls. In addition, in the streets and alleys of the small city of Xinhui, orange peels everywhere are also decorating the festive atmosphere year after year.
Every year from the beginning of October to the winter solstice, Xinhui people buy citrus fruits, dry citrus peels, and store citrus peels, as they do at home, becoming a traditional custom and even a source of life. Around the winter solstice, in the square, in the orchard, in front of the farmhouse…there are all red orange peels carefully placed by the citizens. Every piece of big red orange peel that is enjoying the “sunbathing” has a small piece of its own space to ensure that the sun can cover every “pore” of the orange peel.
In the Xinhui Celebrity Square, thousands of three-petal orange peels are densely packed next to each other, lazily basking in the sun, exuding bursts of fragrance. One of them, Grandpa Ye, who is guarding the orange peels, is 92 years old this year. During the conversation, he learned that the orange peels he dried were grown by himself and his two sons. “This year we planted 100 acres of Xinhui mandarins, of which 50 acres of mandarins were sold directly, and the remaining 50 acres were dried by ourselves and sold on the Internet.” Grandpa Ye said.
For growers like Grandpa Ye, drying orange peels is both a custom and a business, while for another citizen, Ms. Zhang, who suns orange peels on the Celebrity Square, the meaning is purer. “Every household drying tangerine peels is just like making cured meats before the New Year. The last process of bacon and sausages is dried in the sun, so that they can be formed and will not deteriorate. The same goes for Xinhui orange peels.” Ms. Zhang said.
In the Xinhui Orange Farm next to Qichao Avenue, an open area of about 5 acres is covered with orange peels.
In the tangerine farm, workers select the newly picked Xinhui tangerines and prepare them for tanning.
Everywhere in the streets and alleys of Xinhui, citizens can be seen drying their homemade citrus tea.
The fruit grower spreads the peels on the ground.
The workers are stepping up to turn the orange peel.
In the Xinhui Celebrity Square, the lined-up workers and the ground covered with orange peels form a landscape.