Winter Solstice – Tang Yuan festival


Today, December 21st is the festival of dongzhi or winter solstice celebration. I never failed to roll these glutinous rice balls because my kids enjoy the activities.


Earlier in the evening, hubby told me he is going to the temple because it is my father-in-law’s death anniversary (which is 20 years ago) and also the winter solstice festival. The sisters made sure he go and pray as all the other sons do not visit the temple.

So, he mentioned about going to buy a small packet of tangyuan to bring to the temple as I didn’t have the flour to roll the tangyuan yet. I told him, “Choy…no need lah. Tomorrow, I pretend I do not know, you just take a bowl from home. Later tonight when #1 son brings back the flour, I sure can roll one.” I always joke with him that it is against my (Christian) principles to offer foods to ancestors. So, that’s why I told him, “I close my eyes, pretend I do not see, then it is not against my principle lor.”

tang yuen

I made two types of syrup. One is the brown sugar with ginger type.


The other one is the rock sugar and screwpine leave syrup.

tangyuan snowman

My tangyuan has lots of colours because we stock many types of food colourings at home. My #3 son even made shit with the dough. I usually make a few presentable tangyuan and the rest of the dough is at the kids’ mercies. Yes, no shit. He used brown food colourings and made a few piles of shits with them. The above is the snowman. There are lots of un-photo-able shapes and sizes.

That’s the beauty of inculcating some Chinese culture into them. That we roll tangyuan every year because we are Chinese. If you need tang yuan recipe, just go over to my food blog.

Happy Dong Zhi and happy one year older. It is said that once we swallowed a tang yuan on winter solstice, we will be one year older. Puzzled me why this belief?

6 thoughts on “Winter Solstice – Tang Yuan festival

  1. I have not made or eaten the ‘ee’ for many years. Guess I did not want to grow older.

    But this morning a friend gave me a bowl of ‘ee’ ,coloured orange using sweet potatoes. Just finished eating it. Delicious!! Now I am one year older!

    I remembered that long ago in my family, this festival was celebrated more lavishly than the New Year. We were told that this festival was ‘bigger’.

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