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Today is the Chinese Dongzhi Festival 冬至. In the Western calendar, the Dongzhi Festival 冬至 falls on around December 21 to December 22 when the night is longest and the day is shortest in the northern hemisphere.
The Dongzhi Festival 冬至 started as early as the Spring and Autumn Period 春秋 ( 771BC - 476BC ). During the reign of the Han Dynasty 汉朝 ( 206 BC – 220AD ) the festival grew in importance. It was even more important during the Tang Dynasty 唐朝 and Song Dynasty 宋朝 when the Emperors officially proscribed it as a day to give offerings to the Deities and Ancestors.
In past imperial eras, the Dongzhi Festival 冬至 was more important, but now it became a day of family gathering for most Chinese Families.
On the day of Dongzhi Festival 冬至 many Chinese Families they would gather together to eat eat a meal of Tangyuan 汤圆, symbolizing family unity and prosperity. Shenist and Taoist Family would also set up altars outside their homes to give offerings to their ancestors and Tangyuan 汤圆 will be part of the offerings.
Tangyuan 汤圆 are specially cooked balls of rice flour that might have a filling of bean paste, peanut powder or meat. Tangyuan 汤圆 is usually pink or white colored and it is often served in a bowl with a sweet soup or broth. In Singapore frozen ready-made Tangyuan 汤圆 is available in the supermarkets, mothers will simply prepare sweet soup with coconut sugar and pandan leaves to boil the frozen Tangyuan 汤圆.
Singapore Martial Arts & Chinese Culture Blog
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