Food for the Winter Solstice
The winter solstice is an important solar term in the lunar calendar in China, which is also a traditional festival. Today, residents in many places maintain their customs of celebrating the festival of winter solstice. As far as in the Spring and Autumn Period, Chinese people adopted the methods of Rigui to measure the shadow of the sun for determining the twenty-four solar terms. Among them, the winter solstice is the first to be fixed, roughly around 22-23 December in the lunar calendar.
The winter solstice is a day with shortest daytime and longest darkness in the north hemisphere. The daytime becomes longer and longer and it turns cold in all regions.
In the ancient times, Chinese people placed emphasis on the winter solstice and celebrated it as a great festival. There is an old saying "The winter solstice is as great as the new year." In addition, there are customs of celebrating the winter solstice. People think that the winter solstice is a lucky day deserving to be celebrated, as it is the beginning of a cycle of solar term with the daytime getting longer. Nowadays, the tradition of celebrating the winter solstice is still maintained in some regions.
Food of Winter Solstice Festival
Food is an important part of all Chinese festivals. The kinds of food people eat during the Winter Solstice vary from place to place. In Northern China, many people eat mutton and dog meat. These are hot foods, bringing warmth to the body and dispelling the coldness.
In Northern China, many people eat mutton and dog meat. These are hot foods, bringing warmth to the body and dispelling the coldness.
Noodles are popular in many areas. When daytime starts to get longer and we say every day gets longer by the length of a thread. Hence the noodles are especially made for the festival are called "Long Thread Noodles".
In some parts of Northern China, people eat dumpling soup on this Winter Solstice Festival; while residents of some other places eat dumplings, which will keep them from frost in the upcoming winter.
Also in parts of South China, the whole family get together to have a meal made of red-bean and glutinous rice to drive away ghosts and other evil things.
In other places, people also eat tangyuan, a kind of stuffed small dumpling ball made of glutinous rice flour. The Winter Solstice rice dumplings can be used as sacrifices to ancestors, or gifts for friends and relatives.