Summer Solstice Festival (Xiazhi)

The Summer Solstice Festival, known as “Xiazhi” in Chinese, is an ancient traditional festival celebrated in various parts of China to mark the arrival of the summer solstice, which usually falls around June 21st each year. This festival has been observed for centuries and holds cultural significance for many communities across the country.

During the Summer Solstice Festival, people participate in various customs and activities to commemorate the longest day of the year and to welcome the beginning of summer. While customs may vary regionally, some common traditions include:

  1. Eating Dumplings: In northern China, eating dumplings filled with a mixture of glutinous rice and various fillings is a popular tradition during the Summer Solstice Festival. These dumplings are believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
  2. Bathing in Water: Taking a bath or shower in rivers, lakes, or even just using water infused with various herbs and flowers is a common practice during the Summer Solstice Festival. This act is believed to cleanse the body and spirit, ward off evil, and promote good health throughout the summer.
  3. Enjoying Outdoor Activities: Many people take advantage of the long daylight hours and warm weather by participating in outdoor activities such as picnics, hiking, and playing traditional games. These activities bring families and communities together to celebrate the season and enjoy each other’s company.
  4. Displaying and Admiring Wormwood: Wormwood, a type of aromatic plant, is often hung in doorways or placed under pillows during the Summer Solstice Festival. It is believed to repel insects, purify the air, and protect against evil spirits.
  5. Making Offerings to Ancestors: Some families may choose to honor their ancestors during the Summer Solstice Festival by making offerings of food, fruit, or other items at ancestral altars. This gesture is a way of showing respect and gratitude to past generations.

Overall, the Summer Solstice Festival is a time for celebration, reflection, and renewal. It is an opportunity for people to connect with nature, honor traditions, and welcome the warmth and abundance of the summer season.