The Essence of Family on Dongzhi Festival
When it happens: December 22
Where it happens: China
History: The origin of the Dongzhi Festival can be traced back to the philosophy of yin and yang in the cosmos. After the celebration, people expect to have longer daylight hours which mean an increase in the flow of positive energy in Chinese beliefs. The philosophical significance of this event is associated with the I-Ching hexagram.
About the Festival: The Dongzhi Festival(冬至) is one of the most important events celebrated by the Chinese. It is also known as the Winter Solstice Festival and is held during the winter solstice on or around December 22. Traditionally, it is a time for the family to get together. One of the most significant parts of the festival is the making and eating of tangyuan (glutinous rice balls), symbolizing reunion. You should try this delicious delicacy since it is only mostly available during this time. In other parts of China, the people eat dumplings during the festival to commemorate the selfless act of Zhang Zhongjing when he helped the hungry people with chilblains.
Other traditions involve the gathering of people of the same surname at their ancestral temples. It is followed by a grand reunion dinner after the sacrificial ceremony. The jovial food is a reminder that people have grown a year older and should behave accordingly for the coming year. During this winter holiday, the Chinese also perform folk performances to give thanks to the gods for bringing them bountiful harvests over the year, pray for their safety and hope for prosperity on the following year.
Dongzhi Festival is characterized by the longest night of the year. After the festival, the nights are ever shorter and the days become longer. This symbolizes the growing hope of farmers that they will have a more prosperous harvest. The weather during this time is chilly, however, the heart of the people are warmed by hope as they observe the festival. It is the time for families to store their harvests, take a break from their work at the farm, and enjoy a period of joy and relaxation.
Travel tips: When travelling for the Dongzhi Festival, keep in mind a number of travel tips. First, do not go out late alone. Although china is a relatively safe place, you should be cautious when going out at night, especially alone. Crimes against tourists were rare, but the number of snatchings and pick-pocketing has increased in the past few years. In ancient China, the practice of rewarding daily-used utensils and livestock are observed. It is a humane custom that has been passed on to the present. During the festival, you can reward livestock by cleaning and fixing their pens. You can also provide cleaning and maintenance to utensils used every day.
The Dongzhi Festival is a great time for families to bond together and give thanks to the blessings they have received. If you are away, this is the time to be reunited with your loved ones and share a glorious moment with them.