Every year, on the 22nd of December, marks the Winter Solstice Festival for the Chinese according to the lunar calendar. And also according to those from the older generation, this festival is more important than the CNY. The reason? Well, I’m not exactly sure, for there were lots of different reasons behind every Chinese festival and each group of people tend to treat one festival more important than the other. If I’m not mistaken, the Hokkiens sees the 7th day of the CNY with utmost importance.
Anyway…. they say that once the Winter Solstice gestival passes by, one will be a year older. And as in my case, I usually get 2 years older in a month. When I celebrate my official b’day in Dec 9th, I am a year older, and when I celebrate the winter solstice, I’m another year older. And I still have not taken into consideration my Chinese birthdate (according to the lunar calendar) as well as the arrival of another year only weeks after Christmas.
The only reason I love this festival is that I get to eat lots and lots of ‘tang yuen’ – which is this sweet dessert made of glutinuos rice in ginger syrup. For those who doesn’t know, it is basically ondeh-ondeh with different fillings in ginger syrup. And for those who are still in the dark about ondeh-ondeh, well, I made some during X’mas eve (cos Dec 22nd was a weekday and no one was free to do anything) and here’s what I did.
The ready made glutinuos rice flour dough that mom bought from the wet market. Complete with food colouring
Some brown sugar mom bought from a Chinese shop. It wasn’t gula melaka exactly, but these are actually sold in rectangular pieces. We have cut them into small little cubes and use them as fillings.
After putting the little cube of sugar into a pinch of dough, I had to make sure that it is real round
At first, it did not occur to me that something was wrong, cos I really, really did as what was instructed, but they didn’t taste like what they were supposed to taste like.
And I really, really do not know why, but my ‘tang yuen’ did not turn out as nice as the ones mom made. I think I did not boil them thoroughly enough and they were not cooked well. But I really, really had boiled them thoroughly and made sure that each and every one was floating happily before scooping them out.
And poor dad had diarrhoea after eating my ‘tang yuen’. But I didn’t have any stomnach upset! Sighh… Maybe that was why mom never trusted me with any cooking…