Jo Dec 1, 2023

The winter solstice is the time of the year with the longest night and the shortest day.

It usually falls on the 21st or 22nd of December every year.

On the winter solstice the sun rises the latest and sets the earliest.

The true noon in Pyongyang is 12:35 and the sun’s altitude is 27.6°.

After the winter solstice, the night gets shorter gradually in all regions (the northern hemisphere) while the day becomes longer until the summer solstice.

From ancient times, our ancestors celebrated the winter solstice, regarding it as the small New Year’s Day (called Ase).

On the day people used to cook tongjijuk (special adzuki-bean gruel taken on the winter solstice) over which they looked back upon the year thinking of themselves growing a year older. They usually shared it with neighbours to promote harmonious relations.

Specially prepared for the gruel were glutinous rice balls which mean good luck in the coming year.

This reflects both the love of mothers who want to please their children and the sincerity of housewives wishing every family member good luck.

People have called it Aedongji if it falls in early November by the lunar calendar and Rodongji if it comes later.

It has been said that Aedongji brings a hard winter while Rodongji makes a mild one.