Dongzhi
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DONGZHI

The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; pinyin: Dōngzhì; lit. 'winter's extreme') is one of the most important Chinese festivals celebrated by the Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice), some day between December 21 to December 23.[1][2]

The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos.[3] After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù (Chinese: 復, "Returning").
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The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; pinyin: Dōngzhì; lit. 'winter's extreme') is one of the most important Chinese festivals celebrated by the Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice), some day between December 21 to December 23.[1][2]

The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos.[3] After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù (Chinese: 復, "Returning").
The Winter Solstice Festival was held as early as the Spring and Autumn Period. During the reign of the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), the holiday grew in importance. It was important during the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty when the emperors officially proscribed it as a day to worship and sacrifice to their god and to the ancestors. It has also been called the Changzhi Festival or Yashui
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Today (Dec. 22) is the Dongzhi (冬至, extreme of winter) Festival or winter solstice, the peak of winter based on the lunisolar calendar, and though many consider it a festive time for family gatherings, it is also the longest night of the year when ghosts are also believed to be on the prowl, thus there are five major taboos that are to be avoided.

During the Dongzhi Festival in Taiwan, people traditionally make tangyuan (湯圓, soup dumplings), which are balls of glutinous rice boiled in a sweet soup, to symbolize reunion, completeness, and their consumption ensures a smooth and peaceful new year. However, few are aware that, in addition to the Ghost Festival observed during the 7th lunar month, Dongzhi is also known as "Ghost Festival," and there are taboos that must be observed on this short day and long night.
In Chinese, Dongzhi means 'extreme of winter' and the Dongzhi festival marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

The winter solstice occurs when the earth is tilted at its maximum annual angle away from the sun creating the day with the shortest amount of daylight.

The solstice marked the middle of winter in many ancient cultures. Solstice literally means 'the standing still of the sun' as the sun appears to do just that on sunrise on the solstice before it rises ever so slightly south on the next day.

Noting the arrival of the shortest day, was a time for celebration. Of course, winter wouldn't end for several months, but to know that you were past the middle and that the dark, cold nights would start to get shorter is an event that has been marked by feasts and rituals since the dawn of civilisation.

This turning point of the year is an important aspect of Dongzhi with a traditional custom in parts of China being that on Dongzhi everyone turns one year older.
Traditionally, in Taiwan, people gather to celebrate with their families and make “tung yuan” 湯圓 which are gluten-free glutinous rice balls, pink and white ones in a savoury or sweet dish and it symbolises reunion. Other dishes include hearty and tonic soups, such as soups with rice wine or herbal soups – reason being that winter is usually the period in which your body is least active and without much exercise, you’ll need to eat well to nourish your body (similar to what animals do before hibernation).

The Dongzhi festival’s origins can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy, basically bringing about balance and harmony to the cosmos. After the celebration, duration of daylight increases, creating positive energy.
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