The winter solstice, or heard of hibernal solstice often occurs in the winter season of the northern hemisphere. It’s a day when one of the Earth’s poles has the maximum tilt away from the Sun. For the Chinese people, they are more familiar with another Chinese name called “DongZhi”. Keep reading to know more about Chinese Winter Solstice Day or Known as ChongZhi Festival, China’s last traditional festival in a solar year.”

CHINESE WINTER SOLSTICE (DONGZHI FESTIVAL), CHINA’S LAST TRADITIONAL FESTIVAL OF A SOLAR YEAR 

|  “冬至”,全年最末尾的中国传统节日

English Words:       Chinese Winter Solstice or DongZhi Festival

Chinese Pinyin:      Dōng Zhì

Chinese Characters:  冬至

Similar Chinese Words:   
    冬节 (Dōng Jié)| Winter festival, another name of DongZhi Festival in China.
    亚岁 (Yà Suì)| The ancient name of DongZhi festival in China.
Related Chinese Words:   
    饺子 (Jiǎo zī)| Chinese dumplings.
    汤圆 (Tāng yuán)| Chinese Rice Glutinous Balls.
    冬季 (Dōng jì) | The Winter Season.
    冬天 (Dōng Tiān)| Winter.

Table of Contents

DongZhi, Both China’s 22nd Solar Term and Festival

| 冬至日,既是节气又是传统佳节

Have you heard of an old Chinese saying “DongZhi is as great as Chinese Lunar New Year”? It told too much that Chinese Winter Solstice was the top second of the big traditional Chinese festivals as great as Chinese Lunar New Year (or known as Chinese Spring Festival). And that’s accounting for its name of “亚岁 (Yà suì)” in ancient China.

在中国,有句老话说“冬至大如年”。一语道尽了冬至在中国传统佳节中的地位,仅次于中国的农历新年。这也是冬至在古代被称作“亚岁”的缘故。

The name of the Chinese DongZhi Festival is transliterated from the Chinese word “冬至 (dōngzhì)”. The first Chinese character “冬 (dōng)” means the Winter season and the second character “至 (zhì)” here means “极 (jí)” and “最 (zuì)”, equivalent to the English word like “extremely” or “solstice”.

“DongZhi” 这个名字就是从汉语词语“冬至”音译过来的单词。其中,第一个汉字“冬”表示冬季、冬天,第二个汉字“至”这里有“极”、“最”的含意,相当于英语里的 “extremely” 或 “solstice” 的意思。

Moreover, since it is the shortest daytime on Chinese Winter Solstice of the northern hemisphere, the Chinese ancients named it as “日短至 (rì duǎn zhì)”, in which “日 (rì)” equals to the daytime and “短 (duǎn)” describes the short period of the time.

另外,由于冬至这一天,对北半球的人来说也是全年白昼最短的一天,因此,中国古人又称冬至为“日短至”。



According to the historical records and archaeological research, the Chinese ancients have already had the customs of astronomical observations on the movements of the sun, the moon, as well as the stars since 4000 years before and hence, determined the natural rules on the change of seasons, climate, and various phenomena of a year. Their great efforts on compiling of the Chinese ancient calendar system further promoted the invention of the world-famous Chinese unique “Twenty-four Solar Terms”, which has been perfectly guiding the Chinese people to arrange farming works and living activities properly by complying with this Chinese lunar calendar until now. And the “Chinese Winter Solstice”, or called “Chinese DongZhi Festival”, is just the 22nd Solar Term of this calendric system, the last but very important traditional Chinese festival, reminding the Chinese people that the coldest period in Winter has come already.

据史书及考古证实,中国自上古时期(距今 4000 多年前)就有通过观测日月星辰、斗转星移的变化来测定一年里的时令、气候、物候等规律,进而总结和编制出中国古代天文历法的传统。由此订立形成的中国农历的二十四节气,作为中国独有的传统历法,用于指导人们顺应节气的变更来恰当地安排农事生产和生活,沿用至今。而冬至,即是处于末尾但非常重要的、反应季节的第 22 个节气,提醒着北半球的人们已正式进入冬季最寒冷的一段时间。

It is obviously found that the specific days for the Chinese DongZhi festival as well as other Chinese solar terms are all fixed based on the Chinese lunar calendar each year. Although the days seem to fluctuate from year to year in the solar calendar (similar to most traditional Chinese festivals), it is predictable that almost the Chinese DongZhi festival each year fell between December 21st and 23rd. For example, the Chinese Winter Solstice Day in the year 2020 was on December 21st.

由此可见,冬至及全部二十四节气都是根据中国农历订立的日子。尽管换算成阳历来看,冬至日每年的日期并不固定(与大多数中国传统节日类似),但每年的冬至日大多都在阳历的 12 月 21 日至 23 日之间。如 2020 年冬至日,即 2020 年的 12 月 21 日。

WHAT IT MEANS?

Traditional Food on Chinese Winter Solstice (DongZhi Festival)

| 冬至日,吃啥?

Chinese Winter Solstice Day, Chinese DongZhi Festival, Chinese 22nd Solar Term

Eating typical food is always the main topic for many festivals around the world. So is the DongZhi festival for modern Chinese.

世界上许多节日都以吃特定的代表性食物为首要的话题。对现代中国人来说,冬至日也是如此。

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