冬至节 / 冬至節 (Dōng zhì jié / Dongzhi Festival) is an important Chinese holiday that celebrates winter solstice, the arrival of winter.
Historically, 冬至 is based on Chinese solar terms, which are related to ancient Chinese agriculture activities.
Typically, the holiday falls in the 11th lunar month or around December 21st, 22nd, or 23rd on the Western Calendar.
This year, Dongzhi Festival / Winter Solstice will fall on December 21, 2020. In the northern hemisphere, it will be the shortest day of the year!
What is 冬至 (Dōngzhì / Winter Solstice)?
冬至 generally falls around the shortest daylight period of the year, when the sun’s most direct rays reach their southernmost point south of the equator.
Subsequent days will have longer daylight hours.
Therefore, 冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival is a celebration about optimism as well as balance between the 阴 (yīn / shade, negative) and 阳 (yáng / sun, positive).
Last year, my family tried these 冬至节 / 冬至節 Dongzhi Festival Activities with Free Chinese Printables to learn more about the holiday!
Special Asian food traditions for 冬至 (Dōngzhì / Winter Solstice)
To honor the turning point that is 冬至节 / 冬至節 (Dongzhi Festival), families gather together for a special feast.
In Northern China, 饺子 (jiǎo zǐ / dumplings) and 羊肉 (yáng ròu / lamb meat) are the menu highlights.
In Southern China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, 汤圆 (tāng yuán / soup ball) is the featured dish.
Of course, these foods are currently enjoyed on many other holidays and throughout the year!
2 Dongzhi Festival / Winter Solstice Videos in English
1. How do Chinese celebrate the Winter Solstice?
This video gives a brief overview of Winter Solstice traditions in China with candid footage of families celebrating.
2. Seasons of China: Winter Solstice
Here’s a more detailed video about the history behind Winter Solstice festivities in East Asia.
Audio: mostly English, some Mandarin; subtitles: simplified Chinese and English.
6 冬至节 Dongzhi Festival / Winter Solstice YouTube Videos in Chinese
1. Chinese Holidays – 冬至Dongzhi Winter Solstice Festival
Chinese Class 101 always has helpful videos for reviewing key vocabulary in slow, clear, and fluent speech.
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; subtitles: simplified Chinese, Pinyin, and English.
2.傳統故事 – 冬至食話
This Chinese cartoon for kids explains traditional customs for Dongzhi festival.
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: simplified Chinese.
3. Ah Boy庆冬至：吃汤圆人团圆！
This Singaporean cartoon explains the background and traditions related to 冬至节 (Dongzhi Festival).
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; subtitles: simplified Chinese.
4. 冬至过冬歌曲 Chinese Winter Celebration Song
This is a lovely song about 冬至节 (Dongzhi Festival)!
Lyrics: Mandarin Chinese; subtitles: simplified Chinese.
5. 冯提莫《卖汤圆》”Selling Tangyuan”
Feng Timo is Chinese singer and network anchor who sings the famous song 卖汤圆 (Mài tāngyuán / Selling Tangyuan).
I like this video because it’s the only one I could find of a real person and not a cartoon singing the song.
Although she makes a few mistakes, she has a great singing voice! It’s very important to me that my kids see normal Chinese people since they rarely see any in our nondiverse down.
A chef demonstrates how to cook 汤圆 in his kitchen! Audio: Mandarin Chinese; subtitles: traditional Chinese.
7. 曼食慢语第86集】摇元宵 Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Ball)
Chef Amanda Tastes teaches us how to make 汤圆! Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: English.
Does your family celebrate 冬至节 / 冬至節 (Dongzhi Festival)?
Please share your favorite family traditions for this holiday in the comments!
My family would love to learn more about it!
Books About Chinese Festivals
中国记忆 (传统节日共12册) is a wonderful series of stories about major Chinese festivals! 冬至节 (Dongzhi Festival) is covered in this series with very lovely illustrations!
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Chinese YouTube Videos for Kids
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