冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival Activities with Free Chinese Printables

Happy Winter Solstice / 冬至快乐 / 冬至快樂!While learning Chinese with my kids, I am also learning about Chinese culture as I don’t remember my late parents talking about Dongzhi Festival!

This weekend, we took a break from the daily Christmas activities to learn about how winter solstice is celebrated in Chinese culture.

I’ll give a quick overview of what we learned and share free printable Dongzhi Festival activities!

冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival Activities with Free Chinese Printables

What is 冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival?

冬至节 / 冬至節 is one of the major ancient Chinese festivals that began over 2000 years ago.

The winter solstice is traditionally celebrated in different parts of China by preparing and eating special food. These foods include:

  • 饺子 / 餃子 (jiǎozi / dumplings)
  • 红豆糯米饭 / 紅豆糯米飯 (hóngdòu nuòmǐ fàn / red bean glutinous rice)
  • 姜母鸭 / 姜母鴨 (jiāng mǔ yā /ginger duck hot pot)
  • 汤圆 / 湯圓 (tāngyuán / sticky rice balls)

In addition, winter solstice is the start of the Nine Nines of Winter (九九消寒), referring to the nine periods of nine days each after which spring arrives and winter is over.

To keep busy during the cold days and count down for the arrival of spring, ancient Chinese activities include:

  • 九九消寒歌 (jiǔjiǔ xiāo hán gē), also known as 数九歌 / 數九歌 (shǔ jiǔ gē)
  • 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 (jiǔjiǔ xiāo hán tú / Nine Nine’s of Passing the Cold of Winter)

冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival Activities with Kids

To learn about the Chinese Dongzhi Festival 冬至节 / 冬至節, my kids and I watched Chinese YouTube videos that explained the history of 冬至节 / 冬至節!

冬至节  / 冬至節 Chinese book about Dongzhi festival and traditional winter solstice activities

Then we enjoyed a 冬至节 / 冬至節 book with amazing illustrations while listening to Ximalaya for audio narration.

In addition, we started two 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 activities!

Here’s a quick peak at the 冬至节 / 冬至節 book as well as the 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 activities!

1.   冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival Chinese book

This beautiful book is part of the Chinese Festivals Stories Collection of 12 books 中国记忆(传统节日共12册).

冬至节  / 冬至節 Chinese book about Dongzhi festival and traditional winter solstice activities

A little boy talks to his grandparents about the history of winter solstice, and they lovingly show him traditions such as cooking Tanyuan and doing 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 activities.

Click here to see full set of 传统节日共12册 Chinese Festival Books and ISBN information!

All of these Chinese Festival books can be read by the Luka Reading Robot!

冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival Book, 九九消寒图 /  九九消寒圖 Activities, and Free Chinese Printables

2. 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 Dongzhi Festival Coloring Activities

(a) 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 Peach Blossom Flowers

An artistic way to countdown to spring is to draw a peach blossom branch with 9 flowers.

Each flower has 9 petals, and one petal is colored per day!  I drew this on our easel so that it would stand out in our kids’ play area.

Later, we transferred the flowers to paper as my kids will want to use the easel to draw other things!

The 冬至节 / 冬至節 book gives and overview of the different countdown activities, including the flower drawing.

九九消寒图  / 九九消寒圖 Dongzhi Festival Coloring Activities: Chinese Calligraphy

(b) 九九消寒图 / 九九消寒圖 Chinese Calligraphy

For this activity, the outline of 9 traditional Chinese character with 9 strokes each are drawn.  Each day, one stroke is filled in filled.

By the time the calligraphy has been colored completely, winter will be over!

九九消寒图 /  九九消寒圖 Chinese Calligraphy

The above photo shows the Chinese calligraphy activity alongside the Chinese characters that I printed out for my daughter.

Many thanks a generous mom, Anna, who shared that she printed the Chinese characters from this Chinese blog.

3. 九九消寒歌 Dongzhi Festival Chinese Poem

The “Nines of Winter” are beautifully described in this Chinese poem, known as 九九消寒歌 or 数九歌!

I typed up the lyrics in the following language versions which you can download in the links below:

You can use the Youdao Dictionary Pen to scan and narrate the simplified and traditional Chinese characters!

九九消寒歌 Chinese Folk Song – Simplified Chinese with Pinyin

一九二九不出手 (Yījiǔ’èrjiǔ bù chūshǒu)

三九四九冰上走 (Sānjiǔsìjiǔ bīng shàng zǒu)

五九六九沿河看柳 (Wǔjiǔliùjiǔ yán hé kàn liǔ)

七九河开八九雁来 (Qījiǔ hé kāi bājiǔ yànlái)

九九加一九,耕牛遍地走 (Jiǔjiǔ jiā yījiǔ, gēng niú biàndì zǒu)

九九消寒歌 Chinese Folk Song – Traditional Chinese with Pinyin

一九二九不出手 (Yījiǔ’èrjiǔ bù chūshǒu)

三九四九冰上走 (Sānjiǔsìjiǔ bīng shàng zǒu)

五九六九沿河看柳 (Wǔjiǔliùjiǔ yán hé kàn liǔ)

七九河開八九雁來 (Qījiǔ hé kāi bājiǔ yànlái)

九九加一九,耕牛遍地走 (Jiǔjiǔ jiā yījiǔ, gēng niú biàndì zǒu)

Debating between simplified & traditional Chinese characters?

Audio narration of 九九消寒歌

The Chinese cartoon below has the most clear audio that I could find, but please let me know if you know of a better video! I had a hard time find a high quality Chinese YouTube video for this song!

Has your family tried any of these 冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival activities?

What are your family’s traditions and favorite foods for winter solstice?

Please share in the comments below!

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Happy Winter Solstice / 冬至快乐 / 冬至快樂!

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