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Winter Solstice
来源:未知 阅读次数: 发布时间:2013-12-05
凛冬将至
Winter Solstice-December 22th

keep warm
As early as 2,500 years ago, about the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), China had determined the point of Winter Solstice by observing movements of the sun with a sundial. It is the earliest of the 24 seasonal division points. The time will be each December 22 or 23 according to the Gregorian calendar.
The Northern hemisphere on this day experiences the shortest daytime and longest nighttime. After the Winter Solstice, days will become longer and longer. As ancient Chinese thought, the yang, or muscular, positive things will become stronger and stronger after this day, so it should be celebrated.
The Winter Solstice became a festival during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and thrived in the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). The Han people regarded Winter Solstice as a "Winter Festival", so officials would organize celebrating activities. On this day, both officials and common people would have a rest. The army was stationed in, frontier fortresses closed and business and traveling stopped. Relatives and friends presented to each other delicious food. In the Tang and Song dynasties, the Winter Solstice was a day to offer scarifies to Heaven and ancestors. Emperors would go to suburbs to worship the Heaven; while common people offered sacrifices to their deceased parents or other relatives. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) even had the record that "Winter Solstice is as formal as the Spring Festival," showing the great importance attached to this day.
In some parts of Northern China, people eat dumpling soup on this day; while residents of some other places eat dumplings, saying doing so will keep them from frost in the upcoming winter. But in parts of South China, the whole family will 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 could be used as sacrifices to ancestors, or gifts for friends and relatives. The Taiwan people even keep the custom of offering nine-layer cakes to their ancestors. They make cakes in the shape of chicken, duck, tortoise, pig, cow or sheep with glutinous rice flour and steam them on different layers of a pot. These animals all signify auspiciousness in Chinese tradition. People of the same surname or family clan gather at their ancestral temples to worship their ancestors in age order. After the sacrificial ceremony, there is always a grand banquet.
   冬至,是我国农历中一个非常重要的节气,也是一个传统节日,至今仍有不少地方有过冬至节的习俗。冬至俗称“冬节”、“长至节”、“亚岁”等。早在二千五百多年前的春秋时代,我国已经用土圭观测太阳测定出冬至来了,它是二十四节气中最早制订出的一个。时间在每年的阳历12月22日或者23日之间。
  冬至是北半球全年中白天最短、黑夜最长的一天,过了冬至,白天就会一天天变长。古人对冬至的说法是:阴极之至,阳气始生,日南至,日短之至,日影长之至,故曰“冬至”。冬至过后,各地气候都进入一个最寒冷的阶段,也就是人们常说的“进九”,我国民间有“冷在三九,热在三伏”的说法。现代天文科学测定,冬至日太阳直射南回归线,阳光对北半球最倾斜,北半球白天最短,黑夜最长,这天之后,太阳又逐渐北移。
  在我国古代对冬至很重视,冬至被当作一个较大节日,曾有“冬至大如年”的说法,而且有庆贺冬至的习俗。《汉书》中说:“冬至阳气起,君道长,故贺。”人们认为:过了冬至,白昼一天比一天长,阳气回升,是一个节气循环的开始,也是一个吉日,应该庆贺。《晋书》上记载有“魏晋冬至日受万国及百僚称贺……其仪亚于正旦。”说明古代对冬至日的重视。
  现在,一些地方还把冬至作为一个节日来过。北方地区有冬至宰羊,吃饺子、吃馄饨的习俗,南方地区在这一天则有吃冬至米团、冬至长线面的习惯。各个地区在冬至这一天还有祭天祭祖的习俗。
drink hot

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