SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY'S POP MUSIC INFLUENCE: ON THE MUSIC N MEMORY TRAIL IS MY OWN BLOG N ROLL PROJECT. NOSTALGIA IS PERSONAL HISTORY N PICTURES TELL STORIES. (I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO YOU-TUBE VIDEOS, AUDIO TRACKS OR IMAGES. THEY ARE UPLOADED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. MOST ARTICLES AND SOME IMAGES ARE ORIGINAL, COPYRIGHTED AND LABELLED SUCH. KNOWLEDGE IS FREE. COPYRIGHTS ARE NOT. ANDY YOUNG. November, 2008).





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

(湯圓) Tang Yuan: Winter Solstice And Song

A good and long time friend Mr SPYeo sent me a video clip of Tang Yuan dessert, one that I had totally forgotten about. I remember as a child waiting for December months just to eat this sweet dish. We usually eat them after lunch but here's the story and song behind these white glutinous flour balls.

The Winter Solstice Festival around December 22nd, or Dongzhi Festival is an important celebration by the Chinese and East Asians. It originates with the Yin and Yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos and is not a religious tradition.

Longer daylight hours after this period of celebration interprets an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this ideal is symbolised by the I Ching Hexagram fu ().   This dessert is eaten at the end of the Chinese New Year festival too.

These white rice balls (later colourful ones for children) symbolise re-union. I remember getting six of these balls in my little bowl because that year I was six years old. 

You get one for each year of your life. But it's a custom seldom enforced for an obvious reason😊.  Of course I had a re-fill of another six later. Traditionally, there's one big ball and other smaller ones served in the bowl.

Man, it was a dessert I relished throughout my childhood but when my parents passed away and as I grew up, family and friends forgot this tradition. I don't celebrate this season with my family now. Culturally, we should.

There are many dessert shops in Singapore today that serve this dish. Anyone for a bowl of *Tang Yuan (湯圓) ? Let me know. 

*Literally means: Sugary Rounds.

NB:

The song that goes with Tang Yuan. Here it is taken from Jerry Yee's You Tube
site and sung so beautifully by young lady singer Zoe.


Rice balls for sale, rice balls for sale.
The server's rice balls are round and round.
One bowl of rice balls are full and full.
30 cents for a bowl.


Rice balls, rice balls, rice balls for sale.
Rice balls can be used as meal as well.
Hey...yo!
Rice balls, rice balls, rice balls for sale.
Rice balls can be used as meal as well.



Images: Google.
You Tube Video: Jerry Yee.

The birth of Tang Yuan was originated from a scholar named Zhang Zhongjing (image below) from the Han Dynasty.

One freezing winter, he saw some hungry, poverty stricken civilians who couldn't fend for themselves. They were also suffering from frostbite; due to the extremely cold winter.

Zhang Zhongjing was a kind man, sympathized the civilians and ordered his apprentices to make dumplings with lamb meat and other ingredients to warm up these poor and prevent them from further harm. Food costs were reduced by using rice-flour later on but the hot bowl of food and liquid was important.

Click Comments below for interesting reads.

16 comments:

JAN C. said...

If it means eating balls of flour with pieces of sugar in them, it is not a religious practice. It is cultural and therefore allowed to be observed by all Christians. It marks the official beginning of Winter.

H.P said...

Sorry, I'm a Christian n don't practise this.

YEN CHOW said...

I don't think it is tied to religion.

JAMES KWOK said...

My Christian friends in China say that they don't do this as a religious practice but as a cultural event celebrating family bonding, with GOD as FATHER.

Cheers and Blessing in Jesus.

SAM said...

Mostly the old tradition die hard. The old saying is that 'dong' is the bigger than the new year. I don't practise it any more.

A.NG said...

I celebrate yearly till my in-laws passed away in 2014; then I stopped.

RC said...

To some this time of year, eating the tang yuan brings back fond memories of their past and as such they will continue to enjoy this as long as it takes.

IC said...

Me Too. Anyway I don't really enjoy eating it when I was young.

OGL said...

Have never observed it.

JC said...

Amazing that you are into all these! I'm not...Sorry. Cheers.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I have not eaten tang yuan for a long time now. As a child yes, and enjoyed the dessert. It's not a religious practice as far as I know. But like Chinese New Year, it is widely observed as a cultural festival, especially in China.

Most times we need to be more balanced.

Thank you all for the response. Mighty interesting.

PC said...

I only eat but that's because I am in Hong Kong with relatives over there. In Singapore after death of my grandparents, Singapore practice stopped.

Anonymous said...

I love this festive because i look forward to a brand new year (end of winter and spring begins soon). Also the making of glutinous rice balls with my family, it is fun and makes me feel blessed. It wouldnt be fun if i were to buy readymade rice balls from supermarket. :)

CYLIN said...

Strange Andy that it was just yesterday that I was reminded of this annual festival which falls on 22 Dec - three days before Xmas. When young, I used to help my mother make them -right from rolling the dough to forming the 'yuan'. Didn't particularly like eating them - found them too sweet. In later years, we could buy the ready made dough from the market.

I prefer the 'ah boh leng' -a larger version of the tang yuan sold in some food centres. The fillings come in a range of red beans, peanuts, sesame... Sorry, I've not had them for some years and thus have forgotten the other fillings and the price of this dessert.

This is a cultural festival and will soon be lost if the young ones are not made aware - yes, lost to such western influence as 'halloween'.

LIM KUAN MIN said...

Wishing All A Happy Winter Solstice.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

谢谢Mr. Lim 让我可以重温旧梦 听听老歌 好享受啊 ! 真是多谢你了 。你有贡献 你真行 !

Andy 那些老歌也挺动听的 想不到他还请到帮手 蛮有意思的。再接再励。我们可有福了!

Translation : Thank you for the nostalgic memories through listening this song. Please continue so that we can enjoy the memories through these oldies.