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冬至 (Winter Solstice)

Author:TalkingLearn                 Category:Culture

Time:2014-12-25 14:55:14

One year is divided into twelve months which is regarded as twenty-four solar terms. Winter Solstice is one of the twenty-four solar terms and a very important solar term in Chinese lunar calendar. 

 Winter Solstice was the first determined as the Chinese traditional festival during the spring and autumn period in 2500 years.  Generally, Winter Solstice occurs between December 21st and 23rd. Winter Solstice Day is the very day in North hemisphere with the shortest day and longest night year-round. After it, daytime will increase longer and the coldest clime will invade all the places in North hemisphere, which means we will meet the coldest time ahead.

There was a saying that "Winter Solstice holiday is greater than the Spring Festival". Ancient China did pay great attention to this holiday, regarding it as a big event. Being a traditional holiday as well, it is still now celebrated quite often in many regions. Winter Solstice is a time for the family to get together. Northerners such as Hebei province may have dumplings to expel the coldness; and people in Beijing may have won-tons in Winter Solstice Day. Many places in the North of China also eat dogs and mutton, which were regarded as kinds of tonics by the Chinese traditional doctors. While southerners may have dumplings made by rice or have long noodles, which symbolize reunion and living longer. People in the regions south of the Yangtze River may have the glutinous rice with red beans, which implied to expel the disease. Winter Solstice Day is also regarded as the time for invigorants, which means to supplement necessary nutrition by eating the right tonic.  

On Winter Solstice,there is also a traditional of worshiping the God or ancestors in some places.

 24 solar terms:

        The 24 solar terms was originated and was firstly used in China.24 solar terms refer to 24 climes, which show the changing of seasons. They guide the agriculture activities.  They are:

Spring begins, The rains, Insects awaken, Vernal Equinox, Clear and bright, Grain rain, Summer begins, Grain buds, Grain in ear, Summer solstice, Slight heat, Great heat, Autumn begins, Stopping the heat, White dews,  Autumn Equinox, Cold dews,  Hoar-frost falls, Winter begins, Light snow, Heavy snow, Winter Solstice, Slight cold, Great cold.

Gregorian calendar:

       Gregorian calendar is the international general calendar. It's a solar calendric system. Gregorian calendar was introduced from western countries. 

       The lunar calendar has 24 solar terms to guild the Agriculture activities, which is also one of Chinese traditional calendars but now still the most famous for using in China. The lunar calendar is based on the movement of the moon around the earth, which lasts 29 or 30 days. In order to catch up with the solar calendar, extra months are added whenever necessary.


        Eat right food in the appropriate time to supplement necessary nutrition. According to Chinese traditional medical, there are many rules for invigorants. Such as, do not over-supplement; supplement according to one’s health condition, ect.


The glutinous rice with red beans:

        This kind of rice is famous in the regions south of the Yangtze River .According to the legend, there was a man called Gong Gongshi, whose son was wicked and did all kinds of bad things to people. His son died on the Winter Solstice Day and turned into a disease evil, never stopping hurting people. But when people knew that he was scared of red beans, they cooked red beans with glutinous rice to expel the disease evil and avoid to be infected.



        Jiaozi, or dumplings with meat and vegetable fillings, is very popular during the Spring Festival and other festivals. It tops the list of delicacies of people in north China, where people eat jiaozi at festivals. There is no rule as to what makes dumpling fillings. They can be anything from vegetables, meat to seafood. Generally, dumplings are boiled in clear water and served dry with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic or pepper oil if one likes them hot. 



       Wonton is a traditional Chinese wheaten cooking food, which was derived from the north of China. Stirring pork and chopped green onions then put them into the skin which made of dough. Generally, people cook and eat wontons with soup.

Tag:冬至简介 the brief introduction of Winter Solstice