Treasuring Chinese traditions

30 Dec

I wasn’t very ‘on-the-ball’ with Chinese festivals and the like except for Chinese New Year while I was growing up. But strangely enough after going away to uni in Sydney, I seem to have become increasingly Chinese. By means of practicing my pathetic Mandarin language skills, carrying out the traditions I grew up with.

Last Tuesday, 22nd December 2009, was the Winter Solstice Festival, also known as Dongzhi Festival (冬至). It basically celebrates the extreme of winter, where daylight is shortest, and after which, daylight is expected to last longer. If you’re interested you can read more about it here in (my dear favourite) wikipedia.

Anyway my mom calls it the ‘tangyuan festival’ because that’s all we seem to remember: the food involved. Typical. But yeh, it’s the time we eat glutinous rice balls stuffed with black sesame or peanut pastes in a sweet broth, usually a sweetened ginger soup. It warms the body and is just plain amazing to have in the cold. You can have plain rice balls because I remember years and years ago I was at a family friend’s relatives’ place, and they still made their own. I liked the stuffed ones better but the tradition is pretty awesome anyways. And apparently we must eat at least 2. Even numbers and the Chinese…

To make your own, just buy the frozen ones from the supermarket (Asian, in Sydney, that is) and boil a large lump of peeled ginger in some water, sweetened to taste. Plop in the frozen balls till they float and enjoy! :]

Otherwise you can just buy them. Ah Balling in Chinatown (Singapore)..?


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