The 24 solar terms, based on the sun's position in the zodiac, were created by farmers in ancient China to guide the agricultural affairs and farming activities. The 24 solar terms reflect the changes in climate, natural phenomena, agricultural production, and other aspects of human life, including clothing, food, housing, and transportation. The 24 solar terms play important roles and have greatly influenced people's basic needs in life, and they still have an important function nowadays.
Winter Solstice, one of the 24 solar terms, is an astronomical phenomenon .The daytime is the shortest and the nighttime is the longest of the year.
Winter Solstice was regarded as the starting point of a new year during the Zhou and Qin dynasties (1046 – 207 BC). The custom has persisted and people presently call it the Small New Year, when ancestor worshipping ceremonies and family reunions usually happen.
Today, it is observed with a family reunion over the long night, when pink and white tangyuan eaten in sweet broth to symbolize family unity and prosperity.
In Taiwan, we still keep the custom that eating Savory tangyuan in the Winter Solstice Eve. Sweet tangyuan come after ancestor worshipping ceremonies. Eating the tangyuan also means one has grown a year older.
24節氣 24 solar terms
冬至 Winter Solstice
薑汁 Ginger Syrup
糖水 Sugar water
糯米 Glutinous rice
黑芝麻餡 black gingili fillings
花生餡 Peanut fillings