Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Love, Happy Birthday - 22 Dec 2010!

Tomorrow is RY's birthday and we've planned to go eat Tiong Bahru Bao and lunch he'll take me to Swensen for their 1-for-1 lunch deal which also comes with a free Firehouse ice-cream for the birthday boy.

I didnt buy him any gifts but I've told him what he'll get from me for his birthday.
Do you wanna make a guess?

Yep, I told him the land tour in NYC will be his belated birthday gift from me.
I'll research for good land tour and pay for both of us.
I think this is a practical gift to ensure no wastage due to buying unwanted and impractical things.

Dinner will be at my mum's place since it's Dong Zhi  冬至 Festival.
Yep, RY is a  冬至 baby.
Every year, mum will make dumpling for us.
Why dumpling during 冬至?

Here is the story of  冬至:

The Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; Pinyin: dōng zhì; "The Extreme of Winter") is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese as well as other East Asians during the dongzhi solar term. The traditional Chinese calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms (節氣). Dōngzhì (pīnyīn) or Tōji (rōmaji) (Chinese and Japanese: 冬至; Korean: 동지; Vietnamese: Đông chí; literally: "winter solstice") is the 22nd solar term. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 270° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 285°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 270°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around December 21 (December 22 East Asia time) and ends around January 5th.

The origins of this festival can be traced back to the Yin and Yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù (復, "returning"). Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of Tangyuan (湯圓, as pronounced in Cantonese; Mandarin Pinyin: Tāng Yuán) or balls of glutinuous rice, which symbolize reunion. Tangyuan are made of glutinuous rice flour and sometimes brightly coloured. Every one in the family receives at least one large Tang Yuan and several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl.

In northern China, people typically eat dumplings on dongzhi. It is said to have originated from Zhang Zhongjing of Han Dynasty. On one cold winter day, he saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears. Feeling sympathetic, he ordered his apprentices to make dumplings with lamb and other ingredients, distributed them among the poor to keep them warm. Since the dumplings were shaped like ears, Zhang named it "qǜ hán jiāo ěr tāng" or dumpling soup that expels the cold. From then on it became a tradition passed down to eat dumplings on the day of dongzhi to keep the ears from getting chilblains.

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