The Dongzhi Festival 冬至, also called the Winter Solstice Festival, the shortest daylight hours of the year, celebrates the season's turning point toward the warmer, lighter days awaiting spring. This year Dongzhi 冬至 is celebrated on December 21, 2021.
Many Winter Solstice rituals are held to celebrate it in China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Traditionally, throughout China during Dongzhi people made offerings to their ancestors, placing food, incense and family photos on an alter. Today Dongzhi is a time during the depths of winter to enjoy a hearty, warming and fortifying family meal that raises hopes for spring's arrival. The meal is typically dumplings popular in north China, glutinous rice balls enjoyed in south China, and throughout China 8 flavor congee made with several kinds of grain, beans and peanuts, mutton soup and roasted meats.
Heavy, rich and warming meals deserve a delicious wine or aged spirits and one of our fragrant, earthy and satisfying Pu’er teas from Wing Hop Fung. They improve digestion and bring a smile. Here are suggestions:
A 15 year old matured in American bourbon, Portuguese sherry and virgin oak. The whisky was then married in a Solera vat. This is a great staple 15 year old from the Glenfiddich distillery.. . Awarded Double Gold at ISC and Gold Outstanding at IWSC in 2020.
This beautiful Grenache comes from the foothills of California in El Dorado County. It is garnet in color with very enticing aromas of plums, dried herbs, earth, French Oak, and rose petals. Flavors mirror the aromatics in a wine that flows across the palate – lush, soft and juicy, with concentrated flavors of cherries and plums. Restrained tannins add structure and texture without heaviness. Very tasty & easy to love!
This rich, delicious tea has a 600-year production history. It is made from Xinhui mandarin orange and 5-year old first-class Pu'er tea, “Palace” grade from Yunnan. After brewing, the color of the soup is orange-red and translucent, with a sweet aftertaste and a precious “ancient tree” fragrance. This Pu'er tea has long adsorbed the fruit aroma of citrus peel.
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that green citrus peel pu’er regulates liver qi, eliminating poor digestion, and protects the cardiovascular system. Benefits: This tea has been recommended for invigorating the spleen and stomach, resolving phlegm and relieving cough, reducing body fat, and improving digestion and weight loss. It beautifies the skin and is anti-aging.
What better way to celebrate this season of light and hope than with the blessings of nature: delicious foods and digestive beverages!
Here are Winter Solstice family rituals celebrated throughout China:
- North China: Eat Dumplings on Winter Solstice
- South China: Eat Glutinous Rice Balls
- Beijing & Suzhou: Eat Wontons
- Hangzhou: Eat Glutinous Rice Cake (Niangao)
- Shandong: Worship Confucius and Enjoy Mutton Soup
- Ningxia: Special Mutton Soup called Tounao
- Guangdong: Siu Mei (Roasted Meat)
- Hong Kong: Family Reunion Dinner
- For Hong Kong people, Winter Solstice is as important as Chinese New Year. The whole family gathers together to enjoy a reunion dinner, which is carefully prepared.
- Teochew: Worship Ancestors and Eat Sweet Balls
- Xiamen, Fujian Province: Eat Jiangmu Duck prepared with ginger
- Hakka: Make Wine on Winter Solstice Day
- Hakka people believe that the water in Winter Solstice is the tastiest and the wine made of the water is smooth and sweet
- Taiwan: Worship Ancestors with Nine-layer Cakes
- Yunnan: Eat Ciba Cakes
- In Yunnan, there is a Winter Solstice ritual of eating ciba cakes which is made by pounding steamed glutinous rice.
- South China: Glutinous Rice Mixed with Red Beans
- Zhejiang: Eat Buckwheat Noodles
- Ningbo, Zhejiang: Sweet Potato Soup with Glutinous Rice Ball