Chinese Culture for Kids Series: Happy Chinese Winter Solstice Dōng Zhì Festival

Chinese Culture for Kids Series features Chinese Winter Solstice Dōng Zhì Winter Festival! Happy winter Solstice – Dōng Zhì 冬至!

Chinese Winter Solstice is called 冬至 Dōng Zhì [Dong] mean winter. [Zhi] means extreme, or arrival.  冬至 [Dōng Zhì] literally means the “extreme of winter.”  Dōng Zhì is also known as Winter Festival – 冬節[Dōng Jié] for Chinese.  Dong Zhi marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  It is the coldest day in winter according to the Chinese calendar.  This is also the day that your shadow measures the longest under the sun.  冬至 Dong Zhi Festival always falls on or around December 22.  This year (2017) it falls on December 21.

Chinese winter solstice | Miss Panda Chinese

In ancient China, Chinese winter solstice, Dōng Zhì used to be the first day of the first month on the calendar, the New Year’s day.  Even though it was changed by Emperor Qin (秦始皇), people still kept the tradition.  Therefore, Dong Zhi Festival is also known as “the little New Year’s day過小年.

 Chinese Winter Solstice Dōng Zhì festival…

is a day for a family reunion, a day to worship the ancestors, and a day to eat some traditional food.  In northern China, people will eat dumplings – shuǐ   jiǎo [水餃] and lamb – yáng ròu [羊肉] to keep warm.  In southern China and Taiwan, people will eat Tang Yuán [湯圓], the glutinous rice balls.  Tang Yuán [湯圓] – Tang = soup; Yuán = round.  Tang Yuán sounds like “Tuán Yuán [團圓]” that means “reunion”.  Therefore, Tang Yuán [湯圓] is the food with a symbolic meaning of family reunion.  During the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, Tāng Yuán [湯圓] is called Yuán Xiāo [元宵].

There is a saying about Chinese winter solstice Dong Zhi, that is when a person eats Tang Yuán [湯圓] on Dong Zhì, s/he is one year older.  So for children, that means they need to behave more mature.

Extended Video Learning Resource collection of Chinese winter solstice, Dong Zhi Winter Festival

Music Video: A Song for Chinese Winter Solstice, Dong Zhi Winter Festival with simplified Chinese subtitle.


Recipe Video: Making Tang Yuan for Chinese Winter Solstice, Dong Zhi Winter Festival in English.

Video: Best Tang Yuen for Dong Zhi Festival in Taiwan in Mandarin Chinese.


Dong Zhi and activities in Mandarin Chinese with traditional Chinese subtitle.

The Story of Chinese Winter Solstice, Dong Zhi in Mandarin Chinese with simplified Chinese subtitle.

In addition to China and Taiwan, Dong Zhi festival is also observed in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam in Asia.  Our friends in Eurpoe also celebrate winter solstice and learn how they celebrate it here.

Happy Dong Zhi Winter Festival!


 Chinese winter solstice | Miss Panda Chinese

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  1. how long is dongzhi celabration?

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