December Solstice is almost here! It takes place on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 2:59 am AEDST (Sydney).
In China it’s called DongZhi. It coincides with the 22nd of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar. On this day families get together to celebrate Winter Festival.
In ancient times, the rulers would worship the Heavens, conducting magic rituals. They would pray for good fortune and abundant harvest. For ordinary people, it was family get-together, to share the meal and worshipping the ancestors.
Like with all the traditional celebrations, the dishes carried symbolic meaning. Eating dumplings and tangyuan was a part of the celebration. Dumplings were to commemorate the medicine sage Zhang Zhongjing (150-219AD) who invented them to heal the people from illness during winter.
Tangyuan is a sweet dish and is an absolute favourite with children. There are many different types of it, depending on the region. A five-kernel tangyuan is made of walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and sesame. It’s nutritious, tasty and according to TCM it has healing properties.
These days most people live in big cities, and they may or may not have access to traditional dishes, which is OK. Getting together with the people we love and sharing the blissful energy of the Winter Solstice is the best thing we can do.