冬至节 (Dōng zhì jié / Dongzhi Festival) is an important Chinese holiday that celebrates the winter solstice, the arrival of winter. Typically, the holiday falls in the 11th lunar month or around December 21st, 22nd, or 23rd on the Western Calendar. This year, Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere falls on December 22, 2018. This will be the shortest day of the year in locations above the equator!
What is 冬至 (Dōngzhì / Winter Solstice)?
In the northern hemisphere, 冬至 marks 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 (Dongzhi Festival) is a celebration about optimism as well as balance between the 阴 (yīn / shade, negative) and 阳 (yáng / sun, positive).
To honor the turning point that is 冬至节 (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!
If you’d like to read more about Dongzhi Festival, the Chinese American Family website has an excellent article about it in this link.
冬至节 (Dongzhi Festival) Chinese YouTube Videos
Below are Chinese YouTube Videos about this important holiday as well as helpful cooking lesson videos about how to make 汤圆 (tāng yuán / soup ball)! All videos are in Mandarin Chinese. I hope you and your family find them informative!
1. 康軒102(一)國小生活 – 冬至的由來
This Chinese video for kids explains the history of Dongzhi festival with cartoon animation plus real images of 汤圆 (tāng yuán / soup ball). Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: Traditional Chinese.
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. 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.
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’s human! And her singing is otherwise lovely. Furthermore, it’s very important to me that my kids see real Chinese people on TV 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.
6. 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.
A chef explains how to make delicious 饺子 (jiǎo zǐ / dumplings) in Mandarin Chinese on YouTube!
Does your family celebrate 冬至节 (Dongzhi Festival)? Please share your favorite family traditions for this holiday in the comments! My family would love to learn more about it!
冬至快乐 (Dōng zhì kuài lè /Happy Winter Solstice)!
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!
Chinese YouTube Videos for Kids
Looking for other educational Chinese YouTube videos? Click here to see our favorite YouTube channels!
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