Cultural Information: Winter Solstice Festival

The Winter Solstice Festival (dong zhi), "the Arrival of Winter" is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other Asians during the dongzhi solar term on or around December 21 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest.

AThe origins of this festival can be traced back to the Yin and Yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in.

Traditionally the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. An elaborate dinner will be served often with a whole chicken to symbolize completeness. One popular tradition (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese Communities overseas) is the making of Sticky Rice Ball A (Tang Yuan) which symbolizes reunion. Tangyuan are made of glutinous rice flour stuffed with something sweet like brown sugar, red bean paste, or black sesame paste.

Tang Yuan A stuffed with sweet black sesame paste
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