The Chinese Winter Solstice Festival has come this year. It is a festival even equivalent to the New Year in the past, telling people that the winter days have come formally. Today, I will introduce the Winter Solstice Festival.
Origin of the Festival
The Winter Solstice Festival, which comes on December 22nd or December 23rd, is also called "Winter Festival". According to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, one year can be divided into 24 solar terms, and the Winter Solstice is one.
In ancient China, the Winter Festival was a grand day. In Zhou Dynasty, great ceremony to offer sacrifice to heaven would be held, when the Winter Festival was the same as the New Year. It was until Wudi Emperor of Han Dynasty adopted the traditional Chinese calendar that the New Year's Day was separated from the Winter Festival.
While before that, the emperors, officials and ordinary people even dropped their works to celebrate this day solemnly!
Customs on This Day
In North China
Many historical conventions have been passed down to be the customs of the North China Winter Solstice Festival. While the celebrating forms are diversified.
Many people make "Jiujiuxiaohan" works (九九消寒图 jiǔjiǔxiāohán tú), but in various styles. Some paint a plum blossom and 81 petals from the day after the festival, one day each. After the painting is completed, the day after will get warm.
In South China
In parts of South China, the whole family will get together to have a meal made of red-bean and glutinous rice to drive away ghosts and other evil things. In other places, people also eat tangyuan, a kind of stuffed small dumpling ball made of glutinous rice flour. The Winter Solstice rice dumplings could be used as sacrifices to ancestors, or gifts for friends and relatives. The Taiwan people even keep the custom of offering nine-layer cakes to their ancestors. They make cakes in the shape of chicken, duck, tortoise, pig, cow or sheep with glutinous rice flour and steam them on different layers of a pot.