Falling around December 22nd, the Winter Solstice is one of the traditional Chinese festivals and also one of the 24 solar terms.Since the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), by observing the movements of the sun with a sundial, China had determined the point of Winter Solstice. On the day, the Northern hemisphere has the shortest daytime and longest nighttime. After the day, the daytime will become longer and longer. It became a festival from Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). People usually eat dumplings or tangyuan (a kind of stuffed ball made of glutinous rice flour) to celebrate the day.At this event, Chinese staff and campus students were able to show international students the art of making a dumpling. After some practice and many dumplings later, they are kinda the master of it.
WHY THE CHINESE PEOPLE CELEBRATE WINTER SOLSTICE?
The reason why the Chinese people celebrate the Winter solstice is related to the theory of Yin and Yang. According to the Chinese astrology, Yang symbolizes masculine and positive, Yin has the opposite meanings. The ancient people think from the winter solstice, the Yin is at its peak and will disappear gradually. While the Yang or positive things will become stronger and stronger from the day. So winter solstice is regarded as an auspicious day to celebrate.
TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS
Traditions and customs for the day vary in different areas of China. In the northern part of China, people usually eat dumplings, wonton, and mutton to celebrate the day. In the southern part, tangyuan and noodles are the festival food. In some places, people also sacrifice to heaven and ancestors on the day. The dumpling is the essential food for people in northern China. After the winter solstice, it will become colder and colder. By eating dumplings, people think they can avoid their ears from being frostbitten as the dumplings look like people’s ear.In China, Dongzhi was originally celebrated as an end-of-harvest festival. Today, it is observed with a family reunion over the long night, when pink and white tangyuan are eaten in sweet broth symbolizeise family unity and prosperity.