Christmas and Dongzhi – The Chinese Winter Festival

dongzhi-chinese-charactersWith the festive season just around the corner for most, it’s Christmas with all its trimmings. For people from China and those following Chinese traditions there is also a very special time just before Christmas. It’s a much older tradition with the festival known as Dongzhi. Dongzhi is the celebration of the Winter Festival and it occurs each year at the time of the Winter Solstice – the 21st of December.

tangyuan-rice-balls

Tangyuan glutinous rice balls are traditionally served during Dongzhi in Southern China

Tangyuan – Glutinous Rice Balls

Families in China, Taiwan and all across Asia gather to celebrate. The celebration originated in Southern China. Food is shared and wine consumed to celebrate the lengthening of the days and winter starting its pathway into spring. positive Yang energy is revered as the families share Tangyuan. These are balls of glutinous rice, often brightly coloured. Each family prepares at least one large Tangyuan in addition to several small ones. The Tangyuan (rice balls) may be plain or stuffed. Plain or flavoured Tangyuans are stocked at Tang: The Asian Food Emporium at 185 Russell St for your convenience. [See map]

The Tangyuan are cooked in either a sweet soup or savoury broth depending upon preference, with both the rice ball and soup/broth being served in the one bowl. There are plain Tangyuan as well as with delicious fillings of Red Bean, Coconut and Yam, Sesame, Peanut and Taro. These are served along with Juiniang, a mildly alcoholic, unfiltered Rice Wine containing whole grains of glutinous rice (often with sweet osmanthus flowers).

chinese-dumplings-for-dongzhi

Dumplings and Dumpling Soup are another traditional Chinese dish served during Dongzhi

 

Dumplings and Dumpling Soup

In Northern China during Dongzhi, the preference is for Dumplings or Dumpling Soup. This tradition originates from from the story of Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty who saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears and had dumplings made and distributed to them to warm them, and so to this day people from this region celebrate by eating dumplings or dumpling soup to celebrate Dongzhi. You’ll find a great range of delicious dumplings at TANG The Asian Food Emporium, try cucumber, prawn and pork, leek, mushroom or vegetable, pork and prawn, Chinese cabbage and pork, pork and spinach, fish, shrimp and pork, fish and pork, mushroom and chicken, mushroom and pork or seafood and pork dumplings.

All are quite delicious, choose your favourites, available now at Tang: The Asian Food Emporium.

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