The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into twenty-four solar terms (節氣). Dōngzhì (Pīnyīn) or Tōji (Rōmaji), Đông chí (Vietnamese) (literally:winter's extreme) is the twenty-second solar term, and marks the winter solstice. It begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 270° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 285°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 270°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around December 21 (December 22 East Asia time) and ends around January 5.
The solstices (as well as the equinoxes) mark the middle of the seasons in East Asian calendars. Here, the Chinese character 至 means "extreme", so the term for the winter solstice directly signifies the summit of winter, as "midwinter" is used in English.
In China, Dongzhi was originally celebrated as an end-of-harvest festival. Today, it is observed with a family reunion over the long night, when pink and white tangyuan are eaten in sweet broth to symbolise family unity and prosperity.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Dongzhi (solar term). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|