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冬至 Winter Solstice Introduction


冬至 (Dōngzhì): Winter Solstice Dongzhi, or Winter Solstice, is an important traditional Chinese festival that marks the arrival of winter and the shortest day of the year. It usually falls around December 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere.

冬 (Dōng): Winter 至 (Zhì): Arrive, you can understand it as winter comes day.

Dongzhi (冬至), or Winter Solstice, is one of the 24 solar terms in the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. It marks the point when the Northern Hemisphere experiences the shortest day and longest night of the year. The calculation of Dongzhi is based on the solar year and is determined by the Earth's position in relation to the Sun. It is a significant marker for guiding agricultural activities and recognizing the changes in the natural environment. The festival has been celebrated for centuries and holds cultural significance in Chinese communities.

Here are the general steps to calculate Dongzhi:

1. Solar Terms System: The 24 solar terms divide the solar year into 24 equal parts, each lasting about 15 degrees of celestial longitude. Dongzhi is the 22nd solar term, occurring when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 270 degrees.

2. Solar Longitude: The solar longitude is the apparent position of the Sun along the ecliptic, measured in degrees. Dongzhi specifically occurs when the Sun's longitude reaches 270 degrees.

3. Observation: Traditionally, the determination of Dongzhi was based on astronomical observations of the Sun's position in the sky. With advancements in technology, precise calculations can be made using astronomical algorithms.

4. Calendar Adjustment: In the lunisolar calendar, Dongzhi is used to determine the start of the winter season. The date may vary slightly each year but generally falls around December 21st or 22nd in the Gregorian calendar.

It's important to note that Dongzhi is a solar term, and its calculation is based on astronomical principles. Modern calendars and online tools often provide accurate dates for the solar terms, making it easier for people to know when Dongzhi will occur each year.

Customs and Traditions:


  • Family Reunion: Similar to the Chinese New Year, Dongzhi is a time for family reunion. Family members gather to share a festive meal and strengthen family bonds.


  • Eating Tangyuan: Tangyuan, glutinous rice balls filled with sweet or savory fillings, is a traditional food for Dongzhi. Eating tangyuan symbolizes family unity and harmony.

  • Increased Yin Energy: Dongzhi is believed to be the day with the longest night and the shortest day, representing the peak of Yin energy. It marks the transition towards longer days, symbolizing the return of Yang energy and the coming of spring.


  • Dumpling Wrapping: Some regions have the custom of making jiaozi (dumplings) during Dongzhi. The preparation and consumption of jiaozi are believed to bring good luck and drive away evil spirits.

The Signature Winter Solstice of Chinese Culture,Cultural and Family Ties: Dongzhi emphasizes the importance of family, cultural traditions, and the cyclical nature of life. It reflects the Chinese philosophy of harmony between humans and nature.

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