Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CELEBRATING DONG ZHI a.k.a WINTER SOLSTICE!!!

Today is when all people(I mean Chinese la, duh!) celebrated the annual Dong Zhi!
It is a day when we eat this traditional Chinese dessert called "Tang Yuan".

"For those who have a sweet tooth… Tangyuán is a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked in boiling water and served with brown sugar sweet soup with a piece of ginger. Tangyuan can be either filled or unfilled with fillings. It is traditionally eaten during Yuanxiao (Chap Goh Meh), Lantern Festival (Tanglung Festival) & Dong Zhì (Winter Solstice). However, it has also come to be associated with the Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year. Today, the food is eaten all year round."


Below is what my family bought to eat. These are those that could be bought from the supermarket. All packed nicely and ready to be cooked! Cute right?!

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Historically, a number of different names were used to refer to the tangyuan. During the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty, the name was then officially called as yuanxiao, a name derived from the Yuanxiao festival, also known as the Lantern Festival. This name literally means “first evening”, being the first full moon or new moon after Chinese New Year. This name prevails in northern China.

In southern China, however, the prevailing names are tangyuan or tangtuan. Legend has it that during Yuan Shikai’s rule (1912-1916), Yuan disliked the name Yuanxiao because it sounded identical to “remove Yuan”, and so mandated that the name Tangyuan be used instead. This name literally means “round balls in soup”. Tangtuan similarly means “round dumplings in soup”.

The Meaning of Dong Zhì

Dong Zhì Dong means “winter” and Zhi means “arrival.” In olden Chinese society, the arrival of winter meant that the farmers would lay down their tools and celebrate the harvest by coming home to their families. A feast would be prepared to mark the occasion.

These days, Dong Zhì is still an important cultural holiday for Chinese all over the world. Even though it is not a formal holiday or sort, most Chinese families who still hold dear to the old culture and traditions, would try to make an effort toget together and savor tang yuán as a complete family.

Celebrated on the longest night of the year, Dong Zhi is the day when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The coming of winter is celebrated by families and is traditionally the time when farmers and fishermen gather food in preparation for the coming cold season. It is also a time for family reunions.

This celebration can be traced to the Chinese belief in yin and yang, which represent balance and harmony in life. It is believed that the yin qualities of darkness and cold are at their most powerful at this time, but it is also the turning point, giving way to the light and warmth of yang. For this reason, the Dong Zhi Festival is a time for optimism. Dong Zhi is celebrated in style. The longest night of the year is a time to put on brand new clothes, visit family with gifts and to laugh and drink deep into the long night.

In Chinese believes, it is also the day when everyone becomes one year older.


These are those hand made by yours truly with dough. Started off with the most simple ingredients. This is what tradition is all about :D

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Look at this man! The annual Tua Tang Yuan that I made with my delicate hands! Lol!

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That's all for now guys! Hope you learn to treasure the traditions that we have :D
Happy Tang Yuan-ing everyone! And let's count down to CHRISTMAS!!!!


3 MORE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS!!!

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