Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice Festival aka Dong Zhi

First and foremost, Happy Dong Zhi (due to chinese language is not supported by this com, english / han yu pin yin will only be used ) aka Happy Winter Solstice Festive to all my friends. This is a festival that is among us in the Chinese community and as a kid, when our mum tell us that it is "dong zhi", the first and only thing that we would think of is "tang yuan" i.e balls of glutinious rice.

Sorry that I do not have my own "tang yuan" picture as the blogger is lazy do not have her own "tang yuan" taken YET cuz today only is the day and I am in the office ma... XD

Anyway, have anyone of us think the meaning behind this festival? But I suppose by today, a lot of bloggers would have taken the initiative to do some research on this and would have blog about it maybe even years ago. So, this is my turn to blog about it hoping to be able to share the knowledge of our Chinese culture and also for my own learning purpose, so that in the future I can proudly tell the younger generation about this festival and not just about eating "tang yuan".

So, if you have read about it, maybe you can just ignore the following post. ^_^

I've tried searching the net entering the key word "winter solctice" and the following is that I've got and I hope that the information is solid and true.

From the wikipedia (CLICK HERE for more detailed information)

The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; Pinyin: dōng zhì; "The Extreme of Winter") is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term on or around December 22 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest.

The origins of this festival can be traced back to the Yin and Yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù (復, "Returning"). Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of Tangyuan (湯圓, Cantonese jyutping: tong1 jyun2; Mandarin Pinyin: Tāng Yuán) or balls of glutinuous rice, which symbolize reunion. Tangyuan are made of glutinuous rice flour and sometimes brightly coloured. Each family member receives at least one large Tang Yuan in addition to several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl. It is also often served with a mildly alcoholic unfiltered rice wine containing whole grains of glutinous rice (and often also Sweet Osmanthus flowers), called jiuniang.

As far as I can find from other sources, the history of this winter solctice festival is as above. Another website that I found is much summarized as compared to Wikipedia. CLICK HERE.

Thus, after getting to know about the history which has been a tradition festival since the Han Dynasty, I hope when all of us enjoying the "tang yuan", we could eat it with gratitude and appreciation feeling and the best if we could enjoy it together with our family members.

Last but not least, for me, "dong zhi" would also be an indication to me that Christmas is coming and current year is coming to an end... =)

So, Happy Holidays !!!!!

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