To celebrate the winter solstice, Henan Okay Plastic indusry company held a dumpling competition, and all the employees together happily spent this meaningful day.
Winter Solstice (also Winter Festival), one of the 24 Solar Terms, is a traditional Chinese festival. It usually falls on December 21st, 22nd or 23rd instead of on a fixed day. On that day, the northern hemisphere has the shortest daytime and longest nighttime. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC), Chinese people identified the day with an ancient tool named an Earth Sundial. Throughout Chinese ancient times, it played an important part as an influential festival, as the proverb goes “Winter Solstice is as important as Chinese New Year”.
According to historical records, Winter Solstice was regarded as the starting point of a new year during the Zhou and Qin dynasties (1046 – 207 BC). The custom has persisted and people presently call it the Small New Year, when ancestor worshipping ceremonies and family reunions usually happen. People kowtowed to their parents and offered sacrifices to their ancestors. By the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911), it was a custom for emperors to worship heaven. The well-preserved Temple of Heaven in Beijing was constructed for that reason.
Dumpling is the typical food for the day.North part: As a popular saying goes in northern China that ‘Have dumplings for Winter Solstice and noodles for Summer Solstice’, dumplings have been a must for the festival. If you happen to confront the day in China, go to the restaurant early, or there will be no dumplings left. Some eat wontons or steamed stuffed buns on that day.
South part: Sticky puddings (sweet dumplings) and Tsampa are more popular for locals in south China. In their mind, the round shape of sticky dumplings symbolizes a family reunion. There are other customs; for instance, in Jiangnan area (the southern part of the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River), people have ormosia glutinous rice food and in Hangzhou, rice cakes with various flavors are most welcomed.Aside from these, it’s said that in some areas, people also have mutton, noodles or drink winter wine for celebration. These are all hot food to help keep warm and avoid catching cold.