Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

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!


  1. That's so cute!! My family always bought frozen premade ones so I would've never thought to make shapes with them.

  2. I love tang yuen, sweet or salty. For Winter Soulstice we eat plain rice balls with mixed veggies in soup but I didn't know I could be eating the sweet kind instead!

  3. Fun! We never made different shapes with them, they were just eaten!

  4. That first picture is so lovely. But I think the shot of those teenage mutant ninja turtles wins out!

    We always buy ours from the supermarket LOL. Now I feel like I've been missing out...I need to make a hamburger tang yuan right now :P

  5. Happy Winter Solstice! Haha~ KOWABUNGA, DUDE!

  6. Oh they look so pretty, but then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well? Your sister is seriously awesome, dude. Happy Winter Solstice to you all! x

  7. Arianne- HAHA THAT'S HOW I FEEL

    Girlie Blogger- I actually hate it alone :P My mom introduced peanuts for dipping and it made tang yuan a lot tastier

    kaide- :) I think I helped out when I was younger and the only way to keep it interesting is if I could make shapes

    Ashley- I never knew I could eat it salty!

    Jamilla- do you have them too!

    Joolz- try it next year :D

    lexi and Tracy- :))

    Makeup Morsels- I should have posted the one my younger sister made. It was gigantic!

    tiffyama- LOL!

    The Postcolonial Rabbit- She IS awesome. My artistic abilities stop at geometric shapes lol. Happy Winter Solstice to you!


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