A little fun fact about Winter Solstice and how we Chinese celebrate it! For years all I knew about it was that I get to make fun little balls immersed in sugar water to eat on December 21/22. But there's a little more to it than that.
Winter Solstice (冬至 dongzhi) occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, traditionally marked as the first day of winter (you can read more about it in this fairly comprehensive Wikipedia article). On this day, we make a treat called 汤圆 tangyuan, which are glutinous rice balls, usually served with sugared water.
Though I've been having these since I was born, only today I found out the reason why these balls are round is because they symbolize reunion (the word for reunion in chinese is 团圆 tuanyuan), which made me all fuzzy inside because I was home.
Uncooked tang yuen
How they look cooked
I like to make special shapes with it. One of the only times we are allowed to play with food
Though my sister's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle heads take the design cake
Technically you're also supposed to eat according to your age as a commemoration of a year gained in life, for example since I'm 22 I should eat 22 balls, but um, I never followed that rule.
Happy Winter Solstice, everyone. May we all have a bearable winter ahead!