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  • Writer's pictureCristina R. de La Mar, M.S., L.Ac., Doula


Updated: Dec 21, 2020

WINTER SOLSTICE marks the turn from Fall into Winter, and in traditions around the world, it is a time for inward reflection and a celebration of the coming of "light." It is both the shortest day of the year, and conversely . . . the longest night.

One of the most important Chinese and East Asian festivals is the Winter Solstice Dōngzhì Festival (Chinese: 冬至; pinyin: Dōngzhì; lit. 'winter's extreme') celebrated during the Dongzhi (winter solstice) between December 21 to December 23 each year.

Winter Solstice in any tradition is an ideal opportunity to contemplate the change of season, as each day hereafter will become incrementally longer (more daylight). The metaphor, both literally and figuratively, is "the coming of the light" and the contemplation of the darkness (Winter) we walk through to get there.

Oh so poignant for 2020, I'd say!

The origins of the Winter Solstice Dōngzhì Festival can be traced back to the Traditional Chinese Medicine principles of yin and yang, the two polar, yet interdependent energies of balance and harmony. It is the tipping point from the height of Winter's Yin energy, to a slow trek back towards the Yang of Summer.

The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I-Ching hexagram (Chinese: 復, "Returning").

Consider the WINTER SOLSTICE an opportunity for renewal, a shedding of "old" (whether habits, emotions or things) and an embracing of the new.

Let us reach for hope and restoration amid the long nights of darkness, and nurture the "light" within each of us, as the days once again grow longer and brighter.


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