Singapore — Both Jamus Lim and K Shanmugam wished those celebrating the occasion a Happy Winter Solstice on Monday (Dec 21).
The winter solstice, hiemal solstice or hibernal solstice occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.
The Dongzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival is one of the more important Chinese and East Asian festivals celebrated on or around Dec 22 (according to East Asia time).
Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get-togethers is the making and eating of tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolise reunion.
In his post, Sengkang GRC MP Associate Professor Lim said: “As a child, I grew up loving the unfilled 汤圆 most (I know, I was a strange kid), although I’ve since gravitated toward the sweeter versions.”
He added that he should eat the same number of glutinous rice balls as his age but joked that he will cheat and call the large one a multiple of 40.
“Our little one is still a tad too young to partake, but my better half definitely enjoyed her share,” he said.
On his own page, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam wrote: “Today is the winter solstice, the day with the shortest period of daylight.”
He said that “many Chinese friends celebrate Dongzhi on this day”. He added a photo of tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) and noted that “they are eaten to symbolise unity and togetherness”. Mr Shanmugam wished everyone “Happy Dongzhi”. /TISG