Happy Winter Solstice (冬至节快乐) everyone!
A brief on what Winter Solstice is all about.
Winter Solstice (冬至) is one of the important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and some other East Asians during the winter solstice period which usually fall around December 21 / December 22 (in accordance to the East Asia Time).
Winter Solstice is also an astronomical phenomenon that marks the day as the shortest and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Also known traditionally as Dongzhi Festival, in the Chinese community, it is also a time for family to get together. And one of the popular activity during this period is the making and eating of Tangyuan (湯圓), also known as glutinous rice calls which symbolize reunion.
Tangyuan (湯圓) are made of glutinous rice flour and the modern ones are also colored using natural food ingredients i.e yellow with the addition of pumpkin.
Tangyuan (湯圓) is cooked in either sweet soup or savory broth. Each bowl is served with the soup / broth together. Traditionally, each family member will receive a bowl of one large tangyuan and several small colorful ones.
In some areas, some Tangyuan (湯圓) are served containing unfiltered rice wine or sweet Osmanthus flowers.
The festivity around Winter Solstice (冬至) celebration also remind the celebrators that they are now a year older, also marking the start of Winter.
Winter Solstice in the Korean community is also known as Dongji (동지). Ancient time in Korea, people referred to Dongji as 작은 설 (a small New Year’s day). It is a big celebration on the day and is regarded as one of the major festivities.
Dongji (동지) is celebrated by the Koreans by preparing Red Bean Porridge (Patjuk 팥죽). Bowls of Patjuk (팥죽) are placed in every part of the house in their believe that it would expel evil spirits while offering family shrine to comfort the heavenly gods. It is believed that the red color from the red beans would contain yang energy and would effectively drive away evil.
As for me, I will be having my Tangyuan (湯圓) with our team tonight as we will also be doing our Christmas Gift Exchange and celebration.
Have a good celebration everyone!