It marks "the arrival of winter") and this festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese community and other East Asians. This Winter Solstice or Dongzhi Festival is celebrated either on December 21 or 22 of each year. This year it falls on December 21, today.
Most mothers (as like mine too) would be cooking up a storm in the kitchen as this day is a time for a family to get together. It is also the last major Chinese festival of the year, the next one being the Chinese New Year. Incidentally Chinese New Year will be on Saturday, January 28.
Borrowing from Wikipedia on the Dongzhi Festival..
One activity that occurs during these get-togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion.
More about Dongzhi - courtesy of Bing..
In northern China, people typically eat dumplings on Dongzhi. Wikipedia has this to say about its origin..
It is said to have originated from Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty. On one cold winter day, he saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears. Feeling sympathetic, he ordered his apprentices to make dumplings with lamb and other ingredients, and distribute them among the poor to keep them warm, to keep their ears from getting chilblains. Since the dumplings were shaped like ears, Zhang named the dish "qùhán jiāoěr tāng" (祛寒嬌耳湯) or dumpling soup that expels the cold. From that time on, it has been a tradition to eat dumplings on the day of Dongzhi.
Old traditions also require people with the same surname or from the same clan to gather at their ancestral temples to worship on this day. There is always a grand reunion dinner following the sacrificial ceremony.
The festive food is also a reminder that celebrators are now a year older and should behave better in the coming year. Even today, many Chinese around the world, especially the elderly, still insist that one is "a year older" right after the Dongzhi celebration instead of waiting for the lunar new year.
Here in Kuala Lumpur, we are nowhere near winter, of course. It's a sunny day with blue skies today..
I wish you all a Very Happy Dongzhi!
|Courtesy of Google images|