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The evolution of winter solstice tradition and the historical changes of winter solstice

DailyBird Culture 2021-10-09 1 0

winter solstice has a long history in China. In different historical periods, the position of the winter solstice in China's traditional festivals is not fixed, and the custom of the winter solstice is constantly changing with the different times. Then let the old yellow calendar introduce you to the historical evolution of the winter solstice tradition.


the winter solstice is the day when the sun reaches the Tropic of cancer, with the shortest day and the longest night. After the winter solstice, the days are getting longer and longer. After a period of cold, the weather will gradually get warmer. Therefore, since the Xia Dynasty, people regard the winter solstice as the starting point of solar terms.


at the latest in the Shang Dynasty, the Chinese people have measured the date of the winter solstice through the method of "guibiao measuring shadow in the middle of the day", but there will be an error of two to three days. In history, he Chengtian once "set up an eight foot watch and measured it for more than ten years", and Zu Chongzhi also "tested the shadow to make up the year, and was poor to check the tiny".


attach importance to the winter solstice, because the winter solstice and summer solstice are the key to the formulation of the calendar. The accurate calendar can prove that the emperor has mastered the destiny and is qualified to respond to people, so they are paid special attention. In the Zhou Dynasty, the winter solstice was the new year's day. In the Zhou rites, the Duke of Zhou stipulated the sacrificial rites of "to the gods, people and ghosts on the winter solstice" and "to the five emperors and the sun, moon and stars in the suburban altar". Folk people also use the winter solstice to offer sacrifices to heaven in the suburbs.


in the book of the Han Dynasty say: "the winter solstice is a time when the sun rises, so you have a long way to celebrate." people believe that after the winter solstice, the days are longer and longer, and the Yang rises, which is not only the beginning of the solar term cycle, but also an auspicious day, which should be celebrated. It is also recorded in the book of Jin that "the winter solstice of Wei and Jin Dynasties is congratulated by all countries and bureaucrats... Its instrument is inferior to that of new year's day."

the most important folk activity of the ancients on the day of winter solstice is winter worship. Since the Wei and Jin Dynasties, there has been the custom of celebrating the winter solstice according to the etiquette and customs of celebrating New Year's day. Lu You said in the notes of laoxue nunnery: "it's the eve of the winter solstice, which is also known as the new year's Eve the day before the winter solstice in the Tang Dynasty." in the careful old stories of Wulin, the


said: "The grand imperial meeting of the imperial court celebrates the festival as if it were yuan Zhengyi. The most important thing for everyone is the celebration of winter. The cars and horses are all Chinese and fresh. The five drums have been filled and mixed in the ninth street. Women and children's clothes are gorgeous and the traffic is like clouds. All stores and shops are closed within three days, which is called like the new year."

During the Tang and Song Dynasties, the winter solstice was a day for offering sacrifices to heaven and ancestors. On this day, the emperor would go to the suburbs to hold a grand ceremony for offering sacrifices to heaven. On this day, people would worship their parents and elders. This practice continued until the late Qing Dynasty.


began from the winter solstice, and the day gradually grew. Since the Han and Tang Dynasties, maids in waiting had to use an extra thread every day for needlework after the winter solstice. That's what people say "After eating the winter solstice meal, a line grows in a day". From the beginning of the winter solstice, people often draw a plain plum with 81 petals on it, which is called the "nine nine nine cold elimination map". One petal is painted in red every day, and it will be "nine". Therefore, the winter solstice is also called "count nine".


The winter solstice is the longest night of the year. Many people use this night to make "winter solstice circle" with glutinous rice flour. In order to distinguish from the "farewell to the new year" on the eve of the Spring Festival, the day before the winter solstice festival is called "Tiansui", which means that the "year" is not over, but everyone has grown a year.

The winter solstice in the Qing Dynasty is also a very important festival. The annual New Year's day, the winter solstice and the emperor's birthday are also known as the "three festivals" to celebrate the dynasty. During the Shunzhi period, the envoys sent by North Korea to the Qing Dynasty regularly had the winter solstice envoy, who specially met the Qing emperor on the day of the winter solstice.

The winter solstice festival in Beijing in the Qing Dynasty was also very grand. At five o'clock on the winter solstice, the flag people would invite their legitimate cousins and close friends to gather in the courtyard and sit on the ground. They would offer "heaven and earth code" or memorial tablets on a low table, offer sacrifices to heaven and "ancestral pole". After the sacrifice, relatives and friends would sit around and eat "white meat", which is called "Shenyu". Therefore, the Qing Jialu (pursued by Gu Suo, a scholar in Suzhou during the Daoguang period of the Qing Dynasty) said: "the winter solstice is as big as a year."

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