冬至快樂 Happy Winter Solstice!
The traditional Chinese calendar divides a year into 24 solar terms. Dōngzhì, Tōji, Dongji, Tunji (in Okinawan), or Đông chí (in Vietnamese) is the 22nd solar term, and marks the winter solstice. On the winter solstice, the northern hemisphere has the longest night and the shortest day.
In ancient times, the winter solstice was the starting point for calculating the twenty-four solar terms, and it was also the starting and ending point for calculating the years. Because the Winter Solstice Festival used to be the most important festival after the New Year, there were many festival customs and people would eat and drink extravagantly to celebrate.
在中國，冬至最初是作為農事結束的節日來慶祝的。 如今，在中國南方，人們在長夜裏慶祝家庭團聚，吃粉紅色和白色的湯圓，象徵家庭團結和繁榮。 而在中國北方，傳統的冬至食品是餃子。
In China, Dongzhi was originally celebrated as an end-of-harvest festival. Today, it is observed with a family reunion over the long night, when pink and white tangyuan are eaten in southern China in sweet broth to symbolise family unity and prosperity. Whereas in Northern China, the traditional Dongzhi food would be the jiaozi.
在韓國，冬至也被稱為“小節”，有慶祝這一天的習俗。 人們用紅豆（팥죽）煮粥，用糯米製作圓米糕（새알심 saealsim）。 過去，紅豆粥湯被撒在牆壁或門上，因為據說可以辟邪。。
In Korea, the winter solstice is also called the "Small Seol," and there is a custom of celebrating the day. People make porridge with red beans known as patjuk (팥죽) and round rice cakes (새알심 saealsim) with sticky rice. In the past, red bean porridge soup was sprayed on walls or doors because it was said to ward off bad ghosts.
在日本，冬日也是二十四節氣之一。 這天，某些地方有喝柚子熱水、吃南瓜的習俗。 冬至有吃南瓜的習慣，有在蔬菜缺乏的冬季補充現爲的意義。 冬天為了不著涼，有泡柚子熱水浴（日文：柚子湯）的習俗。
In Japan, Tōji is also one of the 24 solar terms. On this day, it is customary to drink grapefruit hot water and eat pumpkin in certain places. The habit of eating pumpkin during the winter solstice is because it makes sense to provide products for the festival during the winter when vegetables are lacking. In order not to catch cold in the winter, there is a custom to soak oneself in a yuzu hot bath (Japanese: 柚子湯 = Yuzuyu).
Though we cannot really experience winter in Malaysia, we still kind of feel the ‘effect’ of the longest night of the year as Malaysia is located in the northern hemisphere. Similar to southern China, people do reunion dinner and eat pink and white tangyuan.