Winter Solstice is approaching. Lots of families in Hong Kong are busying themselves to prepare for food for this winter anniversary. In Hong Kong, we often hear the saying, ‘Winter Solstice is more important than Lunar New Year.’ Family members gather in this evening, have dinner, and chit chat about their lives.
Do you remember your gathering at Summer Solstice? Or, was there one? Do you even know the date of Summer Solstice this year? As opposite to Winter Solstice, the fact that Summer Solstice is usually not celebrated is intriguing.
Let’s dive in and see why Summer Solstice is always ignored.
Winter Solstice is the darkest day of the year, the length of night is also the longest. Chinese people regard it as ‘the start of a bright cycle’, so this day is always put into importance in not only Hong Kong’s, but Chinese culture as well.
Summer Solstice, on the other hand, means the brightest day of the year. At the sound of it, it should very well be celebrated, isn’t it?
This day is embraced by plenty of countries, many of them are in the northern side like Norway, Sweden, Iceland. But some other countries like Japan and Peru also celebrate Summer Solstice with their own beliefs. Nordic countries are renowned for its long, dark nights in winter. Because of it, the residents enjoy the arrival of summer very much and spend a day and two outdoor to have a summer festival.
However, this situation can’t be applied in Hong Kong. For all we know, Hong Kong’s climate is almost the exact opposite of the scandinavian countries’. Summer is very often present year-round, with barely three-months of winter. Many Hong Kong people favor winter over summer in this regard. This is also one of the reasons why Summer Solstice isn’t celebrated here.
For a more hidden, cultural reason, Summer Solstice is deemed the start of a dim cycle in 24 Solar Terms, which is a traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar that signifies some natural phenomenon. Summer Solstice marks the birth of ‘yin’, leading to a common time for famine, drought and many other natural disasters. Because of that, this day is rarely celebrated in Hong Kong.
The arrival of Winter Solstice is around the corner, meaning the birth of ‘yang’ is at your door. It, indeed, is a great time to celebrate, for the getaway of mind-melting summer and the upcoming new year.