People in the prefecture attach great importance to the Winter Solstice. Several days previously, friends and relatives present gifts of good to one another. The streets are crowded with people carrying baskets and boxes which are generally called “winter solstice trays”. The night before is called Winter Solstice Eve. On that night, families invite guests to food and drinks. This dinner is called the festival banquet. Married women who happen to be staying with their parents must return to their husbands. Families, rich and poor alike, buy food to offer to their ancestors. Some put up the portraits of their ancestors. The ceremonies and customs are more splendid than those of the ordinary festivals. Therefore, the saying goes, “The Winters Solstice is as important as the New Year”.
Gu Lu (Qing Dynasty)
Worthy Records of the Qing Dynasty
Notes: The Winter Solstice: one of the twenty-four solar terms. It is around 22nd December of the solar year. On that day in the northern hemisphere, the night is the longest and the day the shortest in the whole year. The Winter Solstice is popularly called the “Small New Year”. In some areas people think the Winter Solstice should be celebrated as grandly as the New Year. Thus, the saying goes, “Fat Winter Solstice and lean New Year” This shows the importance people attach to the Winter Solstice.