Chinese Dongzhi Festival 2012

Dongzhi (冬至) is the 22nd one of 24 solar terms, and marks the winter solstice. It always comes on or around December 22 in Gregorian calendar, when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. In China, people celebrate the day as an most important festival. This year, Dongzhi Festival occurs on Friday, December 21, 2012.

Originally, Dongzhi was celebrated as an end-of-harvest festival. Today, it is observed with a family reunion over the long night, also named “Chinese Thanksgiving”. Family members get together to perform ancestor worship, eat delicate food, and exchange gifts.

Like any other festivals, there must be some special food to accomplish the happiness on the specific day. In north China, it has been a tradion to eating dumplings or wontons on the festive occassion, which means gaining positive energy and getting rid of negative power. Red bean porridge is welcomed in Shaanxi since it is considered effective to avoid ghosts and epidemic disease. And, Tangyuan is present during the celebration in South China, which symbolize reunion.

After this day, many places in China will go through the coldest period of the year. In Guilin, the locals begin to make lawei, or cured meat, for spring Festival.


100th anniversary of Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge celebrated

A celebration ceremony was held on December 1, 2012 to mark the 100th anniversary of the completion of Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge, in Linxi village, Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Dong ethnic minority residents and guests got together to attend the event.

A sacrificial ceremony, Sanjiang
A sacrificial ceremony kicked off the celebration.

Dong people, Sanjiang
After that, a hundred respected local seniors walked through the bridge while praying for the locals.

Lusheng performance, Sanjiang
Dong girls play the Lusheng, a Chinese reed pipe wind instrument.

Hundred Families Banquet of Dong people, Sanjiang
Dong people and guests exchange toasts on the Hundred Families Banquet.

Built in 1912, the 77.76-meter-long Chengyang Bridge is famed for its combination of bridge, corridor, veranda and Chinese pavilion. The most amazing thing of the bridge is that not a single nail was used in the whole bridge. It is considered by the Dong people to be the finest of the 108 such structures in Sanjiang county.