Explainer: Winter Solstice, the Shortest Day of the Year

By Lars James Hamer, December 21, 2021

0 0

Welcome to the shortest day of the year, also known as Winter Solstice or Dongzhi (冬至) Festival – the word Dongzhi roughly translates to 'winter's arrival.' This year, Dongzhi takes place on December 21. The festival usually falls between December 21-23 every year. 

Dongzhi marks the balance of yin and yang, from this point on, the negative cold yin energy will give way to the positive yang energy of light and warmth.

On the first day of Winter Solstice, the sun shines directly at the Tropic of Capricorn, situated below the equator, making it the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.


Image via Flickr

Winter Solstice is a time for families to gather, and in South China tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) are eaten to symbolize reunion.

In the north, lamb dumplings are typically eaten as a nod to Chinese physician Zhang Zhongjing, who served this food to poor farmers who suffered frostbite during the cold, cold winter. 

Other traditional foods consumed include nuts, wontons, mutton and vermicelli soup, rice cakes and red bean and glutinous rice.

The festival is one of the most celebrated in China, and while the solstice is only one day, the actual Dongzhi festival lasts 15 days. Its origins can be traced back thousands of years

[Cover image via Pixabay]

more news

Can I Buy Winter Olympic Tickets?... No, Here’s Why

The organizers of the Games stated that tickets for the events would not go on sale to the general public.

Beijing’s Winter Olympics Warning as COVID-19 Wave Hits China

The warning comes as a number of outbreaks of COVID-19 occur across China.

China Clamps Down On Winter Holiday Private Tutoring

Local authorities are keen to enforce the Double Reduction Policy, which changed China's private education sector as we know it.

Doctor’s Tips for Staying Safe This Winter

With winter sports comes a risk of injury.

4 Amazing Trips to Make Your Winter a Dragon Adventure

Dragon Adventures is an outdoor travel specialist.

2022 Winter Olympics Tickets for China Mainland Residents Only

What this means for foreigners, is not yet clear.

Explainer: Why China Experiences Reoccurring Floods

China has a long history of flooding.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives