The Chinese Winter Solstice


The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and it’s one of the 24 solar terms in Chinese Lunar Calendar, this is a festival when we would celebrate with family members with a reunion dinner, as the old Chinese saying gose, ”冬至大过年“, (Dōngzhì dà guō nián) which means “Winter Solstice is greater than The Lunar New Year”. following the festival, daylight will start to grow longer, it also marks a turning point in the Chinese lunar calander when yin (cold, darkness) starts to transition to yang (warm, light and positive)

Many businesses would let their employees leave work early and go home for the feast with their families while some close for the holiday.

We would have festive foods like Tangyuan AKA glutinous rice balls/dumplings, served with sweet soup, in Chinese, the word “Yuan” means round, giving it the literal meaning “reunion”, it also signifies auspiciousness in some ways, and in the northern part of China, people usually have Jiaozi/dumplings in general.

Back in my hometwon, the Chaoshan Region, in this special occasion we honor our ancestors at home with offerings which typically contain free-range steamed chicken, boiled pork, boiled pig liver togather with other traditional dishes, which then served as the dishes in the reunion dinner, we would place incenses in the ancestral shrines and will burn joss paper at the end of the worshipping rite to show gratitude.

According to the traditions in our village, villagers would go to the ancestral temple and pay respect to our ancestor as well as worship other gods in the village, generally in Chaoshan Area, villagers from the same village share the same surname and some rich people from the same clan would build their own ancestral temple apart from the one shared among all the villagers.

I hope this bit of information can help you understand a bit more of our culture and time your purchasing plans for this period as it is also the holiday season shopping sprees in the western world, you do want to keep enough inventory for the sales peak.

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