Solstice Practice

11 Dec 2022

My second time making dumplings from glutinous rice floor from scratch. We added yam flour from Philippines to rice flour from Thailand to create the colour purple.

“Solstice” means the Sun stands still. In the north, it stands for the symbolic death of the Sun, only to be reborn in 3 days’ time.

Although it is endless summer in Singapore, Winter Solstice is celebrated as “Dong Zhi” (冬至) by south-east asian Chinese who inherited the practice from their east asian ancestors.

In about 11 days’ time, on 22 Dec 2022, the winter solstice will be upon us.

To mark the occasion, matriarchs of the family, either the mother or grandma will gather the children around the kitchen table to make glutinous rice dumplings that symbolise the sun, reunion & rebirth.

No alchohol was abused in the making of these dumplings.

These days, readymade dumplings of various colours and fillings from supermarkets have rendered the above practice redundant.

Recently I was only too delighted to be invited to make the spherical shaped dumplings from scratch in a friend’s newly moved in apartment.

Just imagine, on a high rise floor up in the sky, and surrounded by the latest state-of-the-art home gadgets, two English speaking persons of Fujian ancestry participating in a food making ritual that originated in ancient times.

As we ate the creation of our hands cooked and sweetened in a herbal concoction of lemon grass, honey and flowers, our friendship deepened in silence.

Handmade dumplings cooked in a concoction of lemon grass, honey and flower syrup.

So as the Solstice approaches and year end celebrations beckon, I hope we can choose to do less but put in more time & effort, and not feel pressured to fall into the trap of convenience, trying to do everything and ending up with nothing.

Wishing all friends & sentient beings a healing time as we follow the Sun. 🙏

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