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  • Gordon Dumoulin

Beijing's magical twilight at winter solstice...

Beijing's magical twilight during winter solstice yesterday. People who have been to the Summer Palace in Beijing would certainly remember the 17-Arch Bridge ( (十七孔桥; Shíqīkǒngqiáo), built in the 1700's during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the fifth Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

As number nine was believed to be the biggest yang (anode) number, an auspicious number favored by the emperors, the largest central arch is no. 9 counted from each side, flanked by 8 gradually smaller arches on each side.

The bridge was designed to be precisely vertical with the sunset point of the Tropic of Capricorn causing to illuminate all arches at sunset around winter solstice. A celebration of light for the days getting longer again from this day !

Thousands of people visit the bridge these days to witness the spectacular sunset.

Winter solstice day (dōng zhì 冬至) is also the start of the 22nd same named solar term with 2 more to go hereafter, Minor and Major Cold, before the Ox is knocking the door on February 12, 2021 to celebrate Spring Festival for a New Year.

Yesterday was the Dongzhi Festival in China, often marked by eating tangyuan (湯圓), glutinous rice balls together. People in the North often eat dumplings.

#china #chineseculture #chinesehistory #beijing

pics CGTN, sixthtone

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