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THE CHINESE CELEBRATIONS: THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Each and every year just like any other country, China has certain celebrations throughout the year to be thanking to Mother Nature. When it comes to December on the 12th – the day just becomes totally different as the winter solstice takes over the day.

 

What is the Winter Solstice?

 

The Winter Solstice usually falls around December 21, and more often refers in particular to the day when the sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 270°. It marks the longest night and the shortest day in the northern hemisphere. In China, the Winter Solstice was originally celebrated as an end-of-harvest festival.

 

In northern China, it would rapidly get extremely cold it is said that ancestors lacked sufficiently with warm clothing and ate hot food to stay warm. In this case a saying developed along the lines of only by eating dumplings, so one can avoid becoming so frozen that your ears drop off. Today, this custom remains widespread, and people in the north continue to eat steaming hot and delicious dumplings. Residents in southern China often get together to have a meal made of red bean and glutinous rice to drive away ghosts and other evil.

 

The Winter Solstice, one of the most important solar terms in Chinese lunar calendar, was established as early as the Spring and Autumn Period. It was also a traditional festival, called the Winter Festival, the Changzhi Festival or Yashui.

 
The Winter Solstice became a festival in the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and thrived in the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty. As the Han people thought of the Winter Solstice as the “Winter Festival,” officials took one day off and organized celebration activities. During the Tang and Song Dynasties, the Winter Solstice was considered as an official fixed day to worship and offer scarifies to God and to ancestors. Common people normally showed their respect to their parents and elders. Until today, people in some areas of China continue to view the Winter Solstice as an important festival.

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