Winter Solstice 冬至 Dōng Zhì

December 21, 2021
dumplings traditional food The Winter Solstice, or Dōng Zhì (Chinese: 冬至), the 22nd of 24 solar term of the year in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, marks the shortest day of the year and the beginning of the winter season. It is typically celebrated on or around December 21st in the northern hemisphere.. Dōng Zhì is also a major festival in China and much of east Asia. It is traditionally a time when family members come together to share a meal, often eating a dish of dumplings or rice balls symbolizing reunion and togetherness. This is the deepest day of the winter and marks the peak of Yin but also the birth of Yang energy, as days now begin to grow longer.

The winter solstice has a long history in China and has been celebrated for thousands of years. Many people believe that the winter solstice is a time when the forces of yin and yang, or negative and positive energy, are balanced, and that the winter solstice marks the start of a new cycle of yang energy, which is associated with light and warmth.

The winter solstice is also a time for people to reflect on the past year and to make plans for the future.

Here are some useful health cultivation tips for the Winter Solstice:
  • 1. The winter solstice is a time for nourishment. Eating bone broth soups with healing herbs can help to strengthen and restore the body. Under traditional Chinese medical philosophy, the physical body best absorbs nutrients during the cold winter months.
  • 2. Eat foods to help supplement the Spleen and Kidney, such as beef, lamb, and winter squash. Mildly acrid foods like fresh ginger, scallions and black pepper can also be beneficial during this time of year.
  • 3. Get some sun, especially on your back. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, allowing the back to be exposed to sunlight, even inside a warm room with large windows, can warm and strengthen the Tai Yang (greater Yang) channel, and in general the Yang of the entire body.
  • 4. Guard against the weakening of Yang Qi! Self-administered acupressure on acupoints Qi Hai REN-6, Guan Yuan REN-4, or Zu San Li ST36 may be beneficial. A warm foot bath several times a week will serve to strengthen the Kidneys and nurture the body’s Yang energy.
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