Today is dong zhi 冬至 or Winter Solstice Festival. It’s known to be the longest night of the year, depending which part of the world you reside in. Singapore is one degree north of the equator so while we still get a shorter day, it barely makes any difference.
Nevertheless, it’s still celebrated by many Chinese families here. It’s a time to get together and enjoy the evening eating tang yuan 汤圆 (glutinous rice balls).
These brightly coloured rice balls literally mean “round dumplings in sweet soup”, and symbolise family unity. They may be plain or filled with paste, and eaten with either sweet or savoury soup.
We bought ours from the supermarket instead of making them from scratch. The glutinous balls were made by a local company, “Chinatown”. We bought those stuffed with peanut paste and cooked with ginger soup base.
It was a simple family fare but we enjoyed ourselves. No prepared activities, no lesson plans, just basking in the warmth of family. Happy Winter Solstice!
A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
George Bernard Shaw