Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dong Zhi is here again

Dong Zhi is here today. To the Chinese, it means they will be one year older on this very day. Every we go, especially at the market place, tangyuen or glutinous rice dumplings will be on sale. After savouring tangyuen you are considered to have gain one more year in age.

According to one legend, tangyuen was prepared to signify reunion of family members. The story had it that one day, a father, a mother and a daughter was travelling in the cold looking for food. The mother was too tired to walk anymore and finally she died of exhaustion. In order to pay for her burial, the father was force to sell his daughter to be a slave to a rich man. Before leaving her to her master, the father begged for some porridge to feed her to wake her up from her being unconscious because she fainted owing to fatigue. When she finally came to, the father again went to ask for some glutinous rice balls for her to eat. The filial daughter would not eat it, neither would the father. Hence they broke the rice balls into halves to be shared among them, promising to eat full rice balls when they met again one day.

The next year, the daughter asked her master to make rice balls to be placed on the door outside the house in the hope that her father would see them and came to see her. However, she was disappointed. The following year, she put the rice balls all over the places. The neighbours also do the same to help her find her father. Later eating glutinous rice dumplings became a custom to signify reunion of family members.

So much for the origin of tangyuen.

Happy Dong Zhi to everyone.