Dongzhi – Winter Solstice

Today is Dongzhi – the Winter Solstice. My friend ACai mentioned the day on the BBS of my old classmates. I wasn’t aware of that till then.

It is a tradition in my hometown (Henan of Central China) to eat Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi) on this day. Children are told that if you don’t eat dumplings on that day, their ears will be frozen and drop down. Yes. All child believe in it. :-D I laughed when the folklore was mentioned on the BBS again.

Day time today is the shortest in the whole year and Sun is farthest south. I found very interesting explanation about relationship between this holiday and the belief of yin and yang:

This celebration can be traced to the Chinese belief in yin and yang, which represent balance and harmony in life. It is believed that the yin qualities of darkness and cold are at their most powerful at this time, but it is also the turning point, giving way to the light and warmth of yang. For this reason, the Dong Zhi Festival is a time for optimism.

Quoted from Hong Kong Tourism Board

According to this website, even the Yin Yang (or Tai-Chi) symbol comes are related to this special day.

Credit: Chinese Fortune Calendar

Read on in that article. I have to admire those who discovered this thousands of years ago. They are clever people.

6 thoughts on “Dongzhi – Winter Solstice

  1. IN my hometown, Taizhou, which is a city located within Zhejiang Province, we have the tradition that every family holds a feast to gather with the relatives and friends, around the date of Dongzhi, or winter solstice. I don’t know the origin of this kind of tradition – whether the feast is to celebrate the date of “winter solstice”, but there is one thing that is sure –it is a good chance to meet and communicate with relatives and friends.

    P.S. There is another similar feast in Summer called “Qi ri ban” or “seven and a half days” if translated into English directly. I guess, “Qi ri ban” may be the local name of “summer solstice” since I have hardly heard people mention “summer solstice”.

  2. The tradition festivals are very good for people to get a chance to gather. However, currently, no many people care about holidays – even the biggest Spring Festival.

  3. Sir, I am trying to explain to young children the natural roots of the yin yang symbol. Could you please tell me at what time of the day were the shadows marked? Thank you. P. Callaway

  4. Thank you so much for posting such beautiful information. I used some of it for an article that I was writing about this time of year and how it is special in different ways for different people. I am grateful to you for having that information available, and I hope you don’t mind if I used a little bit of it for my column.

    If you want to see how I used it, you can find it on my web site possibly Monday or Tuesday, at:

    Happy holidays!


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