Winter Solstice Festival 2020 · Love is Always Around Online Exhibition & Quiz
Traditionally, the Winter Solstice (Dong-Zhi) Festival is a time for the family to get together. The festive food, Tangyuan, is also a reminder that celebrators are now a year older and should behave better in the coming year. Even today, many Chinese around the world, especially the elderly, still insist that one is “a year older” right after the Dongzhi celebration instead of waiting for the lunar new year.
冬至，坐落于今年的12月21日，是太阳直射南回归线的日子。 在这一天，北半球的日照时间是一年当中最短的，而夜晚则是最长的。 中国古代就有“冬至大如年”的说法。 最早关于冬至的记载可以追溯到汉代（公元前206年-公元220年)，那时的冬至被称为“冬节”，但正式的节庆活动是在唐代(618-907年)和宋代(960-1279年）期间开始。 这天，朝廷上下要放假休息，商旅停业，过一个“安身静体”的节日。在古代，冬至是个祭祖和团圆的日子，亲朋各以美食相赠，相互拜访，摆酒设宴。 因此，冬至也被称为“小年”。
Winter solstice (Dong-Zhi), which falls on December 21st this year. On this day, the sun directly crosses the Tropic of Capricorn and the northern hemisphere has the shortest day and the longest night.
There was an old saying that went in ancient China, “Winter Solstice is as significant as the new year”. Although records of people celebrating Winter Solstice date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), celebrations really took off during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties. On this day, the imperial court had a holiday and rested. Some folks also maintained customs such as ancestor worship and family reunion. Therefore, Winter Solstice is also known as the “small New Year”.
“Heaven and earth press for a change from day to day;
On Winter Solstice spring will come without delay.
The embroiderer adds in an hour one more thread;
When six reed pipes are blown, up and down ashes spread.
The river shores wait to be greened by willow trees;
The cold -proof mountain prepares to release plum blossoms.
The scenery here looks as fine as in our homeland;
I tell my son to drink up the cup in his hand”
Winter Solstice———- Du Fu, Tang Dynasty
7 Customs You May Not Know About Winter Solstice
1.吃饺子 Eating Dumplings
During the Winter Solstice in Northern China, eating dumplings is essential to the festival. It is said to have originated from Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty. On one cold winter day, he saw the poor people suffering from chilblains on their ears. Feeling sympathetic, he ordered his apprentices to make dumplings with lamb and other ingredients, and distribute them among the poor people to keep them warm, to keep their ears from getting chilblains. Since the dumplings were shaped like ears, Zhang named the dish “qùhán jiāoěr tāng” or dumpling soup that expels the cold. In Henan, people hand down this custom since they believed it was able to fend off a chill and get rid of illness to eat dumplings.
2.吃汤圆 Eating Tangyuan
In Southern China people eat Tangyuan, which means reunion. It not only eaten by the family, it is also shared with friends and relatives as a blessing. Ancient traditions also require people with the same surname or from the same clan to gather at their ancestral temples to worship on this day. There is always a grand reunion dinner following the sacrificial ceremony. The festive food is also a reminder that celebrators are now a year older and should behave better in the coming year. Even today, many Chinese around the world, especially the elderly, still insist that one is “a year older” right after the Dongzhi celebration instead of waiting for the lunar new year.
Tang yuan is a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and then either cooked and served in boiling water with fermented glutinous rice, or sweet syrup, or deep fried. For many Chinese families in China as well as overseas, tangyuan is usually eaten together with family. The round shape of the balls and the bowls where they are served, come to symbolize the family togetherness and reunion.
3.吃红豆糯米饭 Eating Red-bean and Glutinous Rice
In the south of Yangtze River, the whole family get together to enjoy the sweet polished glutinous rice with red beans every Winter Solstice. There is a funny story about this custom that there was a cruel ghost who always did harm to people in the areas around the south of Yangtze River. All neighbors had to close the door and frightened to go out when night came. But the ghost had a fatal weakness that he was afraid of red beans. Therefore, people eat polished glutinous rice with red beans to drive out the ghost, prevent disasters and get rid of illness.
4.吃年糕 Eating Rice Cake
The rice cake is a particular Chinese taste snack suitable for both the young and the old. In the Southern China, when it comes to Winter Solstice, people usually eat their favorite rice cakes of different tastes such as rice cakes with sesame and white sugar, fried rice cakes and rice cake soup. According to the folklore, eating rice cakes can help people grow taller year by year, and desire for good luck.
5.赠鞋 Presenting Shoes
Presenting shoes is another custom in folklore on the Winter Solstice. It is said that, people had the custom of giving shoes of mandarin ducks as a gift to each other in the Han Dynasty. Afterwards, the custom has developed into a tradition that uncle or aunt presents shoes or hats to nephews to express their best wishes. Former embroideries presented to men are made in the shape of a dog or a tiger mostly, with beasts embroidered on it. The gifts for women are made in the shape of a phoenix, with flowers and birds embroidered on it.
6.尊师 Respecting Teachers
In ancient times, people had the custom of inviting teachers to dinners on Winter Solstice. Students will bow to the teacher after the teacher leads the students to worship the memorial tablet of Confucius first. In the folklore of Shanxi, there is a prevalent idiom of do the teaching in the Winter Solstice. In the Northern China, stewed mutton is always used to entertain teachers.
7.喝冬酿酒 Drinking Winter Wine
Winter wine is a must on the Winter Solstice for people in Suzhou. Winter wine is brewed with rice coupled with sweet Osmanthus, the aroma of which is attractive. While drinking winter wine, people will also have pot-stewed food such as spiced beef, spiced mutton and other kinds of pot-stewed food at the same time in the evening. In cold winter, the wine can not only fend off a chill but also embody their good wishes for the life in Suzhou.
活动详情 Event Details
1.This event will take the form of a small quiz, through the online exhibition and questions, to let more people understand the culture of Winter Solstice festival.
2.Deadline：December 19th,2020 (Saturday), 12pm(noon).
3.The event is open to all Malaysian citizens without age limitation and no participation fee is required.
4.There are 10 questions in this quiz, and participants have to answer it ALL.
5.Organizer will eventually select 20 winners from the participants.
6.Organizer will purchase some relief goods in the name of the winners and send to charity organizations in need. In addition, the organizer will give 20 winners a certificate and a gift package for the Winter Solstice festival.
7.Each participant allowed for ONE(1) submission only, repeat submissions will be disqualified.
8.Each participant must fill up the form with utmost care. The participant shall bear the sole responsibility for any error or incomplete registration in terms of contact details that may lead to resultant failure to liaise with the Organizer.
9.Participation in the Event is tantamount to consent by all participants in abiding all the stated terms and conditions of the Event.
10.The Organizer reserves all rights to the final interpretation and decision on the conduct of the event, including the right to halt, amend or terminate the activities, its terms and conditions without any separate notice.
参赛步骤 How to Participate
步骤1.点赞并关注“China Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur”面子书专页
Step 1: Click “LIKE” China Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur” Facebook page
Step 2: LIKE and Share the event post on Facebook (Edit Audience>Select Privacy > set as “PUBLIC”), and Hashtag #ChinaCulturalCentre #DongzhiFestival
Step 3: Leave a comment within 80 words starting with: ” Winter Solstice…”
Step 4: Visit the online exhibition.
Step 5: Fill up the registration form, answer the quiz and submit.