Residence: San Marino, California
Date of Performance/Collection: February 2007
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Mandarin, Taiwanese
Winter Solstice Festival
“The Winter Solstice Festival is very important to the Chinese culture. It is celebrated around December 21, the shortest day of the year. This festival celebrates longer daylight, which means that there’s more positive energy. For this festival, families get together and eat tangyuan. Tangyuan are glutinous rice balls that represent reunion. It allows families to reunite.”
My informant learned the item when she grew up in Taiwan. It’s an important Chinese tradition that most people participate in. My mom has been celebrating the Winter Solstice Festival ever since she was a little kid, and now my family celebrates it every year.
My family celebrates the festival on December 21. We have a huge family reunion with my aunts and uncles. We go to a Chinese restaurant to eat a delicious dinner, while catching up on everybody’s life. After dinner, each family separates and goes home. At home, my mom cooks tangyuan for my whole family. Usually, she makes several stuffed tangyuan and many small plain ones.
My mom enjoys this celebration because she loves family get-togethers. With the busy lives that everyone leads now, my parents do not get to see their brothers and sisters often. This festival is a chance for everyone to reunite. This celebration is particularly important to my mom because of the fact that we always have a family reunion on this day. This day also allows my mom to sit down with my family while eating tangyuan.
I think that this festival is significant to Chinese culture and Chinese families. I agree with my mom, and I think that families really don’t have very much time to sit down and talk to each other. Even family dinners are becoming so rare in American families. Parents are always working and children have extracurricular activities and large amounts of homework that keep them from eating at a set time. Also, this festival shows Chinese values. Chinese people value positive things, so the fact that after the winter solstice is over and there will be days with longer daylight is relative to their beliefs.