Win­ter Sol­stice

冬至

Special Focus - - Contents - Zhang Chengy­i张成熠

The 22nd of De­cem­ber marks the Win­ter Sol­stice for the year of 2018. As one of the 24 so­lar terms, Win­ter Sol­stice is quite unique.

Ap­prox­i­mately three thou­sand years ago, Sage Zhou, one of the great­est politi­cians, ed­u­ca­tors, and thinkers in Chi­nese his­tory, mea­sured the “cen­ter of the world” with a stone plate and a nee­dle. Af­ter that, through ex­tended ob­ser­va­tion of the move­ment of the sun, saga­cious Chi­nese an­ces­tors came up with a sys­tem of de­ter­min­ing the sea­sonal al­ter­na­tion by di­vid­ing the en­tire so­lar pe­riod by a fac­tor of 24, which still serves as an im­por­tant guide for con­ti­nen­tal mon­soon cli­mate agri­cul­ture.

As the twenty- sec­ond so­lar term, Win­ter Sol­stice is when the day­time is at its short­est and night­time at its long­est. In other words, Win­ter Sol­stice oc­curs when the earth trav­els around the near-sun point and the sun shines straight on the tropic of Capri­corn. Due to the fact that Earth’s or­bit around the sun is ac­tu­ally 365 days 5 hours and 48 min­utes, the date for the Win­ter Sol­stice varies from the twen­ty­first to the twenty- third of De­cem­ber, and it is also known as “the day of re­vival.” Af­ter the Win­ter Sol­stice, the rel­a­tive po­si­tion of the sun trav­els north­ward, and day­time in the north­ern hemi­sphere in­creases. “YIN,” the air of dark­ness starts to de­cline, while “YANG,” the air of bright­ness be­gins to bounce. Be­cause the YANG arises, the Win­ter Sol­stice in Chi­nese is named as the “ini­tial warmth rise.” Con­se­quently, Win­ter Sol­stice is when the liveli­hood of na­ture is awak­ened— and a new cy­cle of the year be­gins. In this sense, Win­ter Sol­stice is known as the “vice new year,” in­di­cat­ing its sig­nif­i­cant role

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