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How Chinese People Celebrate the Winter Solstice

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The winter solstice is the time around December 21-22 for the Northern Hemisphere. It is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. For 2015, the winter solstice was on December 22. In China, the winter solstice is a very important celebration and it is also the time for families to get together.  People in China think this day is the coldest day of the year, so they try to eat more fatty food to fight the cold in winter. Because of China’s vast territory, people also celebrate with different cuisines depending on geographic location. Those customs can be traced back to ancient China. In Northern China, winter time is extremely cold, and people always eat jiaozi (dumplings) on this day. Since jiaozi look like ears, people in this area thought that eating hot jiaozi can keep your ears warm in the cold winter days. In Southern China, people typically eat tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) to celebrate the winter solstice. Because of the round shape of tangyuan, people in this area thought that the families will reunite soon. Since the winter solstice is close to the Chinese Lunar New Year, people also celebrate for children to get one year older.

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