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Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival

By Lydia, February 2013

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With the winter solstice comes short days and cold temperatures, and in China, one of the most significant festivals of the year, the Dongzhi or Winter Solstice Festival. With the festival ushering in a new solar year and marking the beginning of winter often gets overshadowed by Western holidays and Chinese New Year, the celebration offers a unique cultural insight for visitors lucky enough to be traveling in China during late December.

A Bit of History


In ancient China, the Winter Solstice Festival was even more important than the Lunar New Year, sometimes called Chinese New Year. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese believed that after the solstice, days became longer and so did positive yang energy. Emperors and commoners alike would spend the day offering to heaven and to deceased relatives. Today, many of the traditions continue.

Editor’s Note: This recommendation was taken from our China Things to Do blog. Visit the original post to continue reading the full post and to learn more about things to do in China.

Photo courtesy of avlxyz via Flickr

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