Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Solstice

Today is Dong Zhi or winter solstice. It is a day of ancestral celebrations, or ancestral worship if you wanna look at it that way. It marks the beginning of winter, the preparation for winter and asking the ancestors for blessings. But ultimately, every seasonal beginning, every equinox and solstice, the Chinese will celebrate that day of seasonal change. This is probably true for most agrarian societies that depend on the seasons for their livelihood.

This is the day where we make Tang Yuan or glutinous rice dumplings. Some of you might be familiar with the Ahballing version with stuffings inside. But traditionally, just the "kosong" one will do. We make it from scratch and then boil it before soaking in brown sugar syrup.

According to my dad, the dumplings also serves as food offerings for ancestors and for the hungry lonely souls who do not have any family. Apparently they used to stick the dumpling on their doors for the passing ghouls.

See my flickr set for step by step pictorial instructions on the making of the dumpling! The only part I missed out is how to turn the flour to dough. Ack! The most important part actually. Hopefully there's still time to learn it in the next winter solstice.

Related Reads:
"For Winter Solstice, try some dumplings"
by Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune, 14 Dec 2006

1 comment:

chinatownboy said...

Alamak, I missed this one! Are you going to write about "Pai Ti Kong"? Can share some pictures of the setup at home?