Winter Solstice or Dongzhi festival: 7 Things you should know!

Winter Solstice or Dongzhi festival: 7 Things you should know!

Did you know these fun facts about the Winter Solstice or Dongzhi Festival?

We are just 3 days away from Christmas, but did you know that today, Dec 22 is Winter Solstice or Dongzhi festival?

That’s right, the Winter Solstice or Dongzhi festival is usually celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians on or around 22 December every year.

Here are some fun facts about this festival that you may not have known!

It symbolises peak of winter

“Dongzhi” means ‘the extreme of winter’ and scientifically speaking, this is the shortest day of the year or the longest night of the year.

It symbolises a turning point for after this day, days will start getting longer and nights shorter.

It is an auspicious day

The Winter Solstice Festival heralds a time for optimism.

In Chinese culture, Winter solstice is related to the theory of Yin and Yang.

The Chinese believe that Yang symbolizes masculine and positive and Yin means the opposite. Apparently, at the Winter Solstice, the Yin is at its peak and will disappear gradually. While the Yang or positivity will get stronger by the day.

After the Winter Solstice, days will be longer. The longer daylight symbolises more positive energy in the coming days. Which is why Winter Solstice is regarded as an auspicious day to celebrate. 

Day for family gatherings

The Winter Solstice is traditionally a time for the family to get together, just like Westerners do on Christmas.

In the olden days, farmers and fishermen would take time off from work and reunite with their families with a lavish meal. 

Winter Solstice or Dongzhi festival: 7 Things you should know!

“Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Winter Solstice!”, says Joanne Peh PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / JOANNE PEH

Tangyuan or glutinous rice balls are served

It is a tradition to eat tangyuan, or glutinous rice balls on this day. Tangyuan are stuffed small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour and and served in hot sugar water.

Tangyuan symbolises reunion or wholeness and unity.

You become one year older!

That’s right! The Winter Solstice festival is also considered as an ‘Asian birthday’ among the Chinese.
This is because of the turning point it symbolises, which also marks the start of a new solar term.

In fact, many Chinese, especially the elderly, consider this day as everyone’s birthday! It is believed that the whole world just got a year older after this day! 🙂

Worshipping ancestors

This is also a day to worship ancestors and respect parents and elders.

It is almost as important as Chinese New Year!

Yep, though not as well-known, the Winter Solstice Festival is one of the most important festivals for Chinese, and some even consider it as the “Small New Year”!

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Written by

Jaya

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