Around this time, the Western society is celebrating Christmas or Hanukah and having big feasts. In the Chinese culture, the same time span represents the winter solstice which is a very important solar term in the Chinese Lunar calendar.
Being a traditional holiday as well, it is still celebrated quite often in many regions. Early during the Spring and Autumn period, 2500 years ago, Winter solstice was first determined as the Chinese traditional solar term among the total 24 terms. In a Gregorian calendar, it is around Dec 22nd or 23rd.
Midwinter day is the very day in the Northern hemisphere with the shortest day and longest night year-round. After it, daytime will become increasingly longer and the coldest climate will invade all the places on the Northern part of the globe. We Chinese always call it “JinJiu”, which means once Winter solstice comes, we will meet the coldest time ahead.
Ancient China paid great attention to this holiday, regarding it as a big event. There was the saying that “Winter solstice holiday is greater than the spring festival”. Nowadays, many regions still celebrate it as a big holiday. Northerners may have dumplings and raviolis that day while southerners may have dumplings made by rice and long noodles. Some places even have the tradition to offer sacrifices to the heaven and earth.
In all words, whether you are going to celebrate Christmas or Winter solstice holiday, I wish you all to have a good time and enjoy yourself with family and friends.