The Winter Solstice Festival or Dong zhì is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese. Dong Zhì is the day when families get together, make and eat tang yuan, a sweet soup made of glutinous rice balls. Each family member gets at least one large bright tang yuan with several small ones served in a bowl. The festive food is also to remind us that we are now a year older.
Not-so-round sticky balls
In a few days times will be winter solstice, Little C is very excited as this will be her first time helping mama and grandma to make the colourful sticky rice balls soup that she loves to eat so much.
Everyday, when she plays with her play dough she will try to roll the colourful pastel colour play dough that her mum made for her into round little balls. Most of the time, she rolls the play dough into balls that are either too big or too small and the worst part is it did not turn out to be round like a ball but shaped more like an American football.
Little C feels sad and said to herself ‘why can’t I make the dough round and the right size???’
That night day before Winter Solstice, Grandma Sticky Rice ball appears to Little C in her dream. She brings Little C to the
, it is a beautiful land
with everything round and in pastels colours. She sees children like herself
playing and making sticky rice balls. They are singing while happily rolling
the sticky rice into balls (well not really as a lot of the sticky rice balls
were like what Little C made) land of Sticky Rice Ball
Grandma Sticky Rice ball takes a piece of sticky rice paste and starts to roll. As she rolls she sings, than she pause for a while and smile at Little C, and in her soft tone she said ‘Little C, remember, when you make your rice balls use your hands and heart to roll the paste, and as you roll feel happiness in you because you get to make it for your family to eat. Please don’t feel sad even though your rice balls are not round’….
Next morning, Little C is so excited to help her mama and grandma. Little C helps Grandma to peel the skin off the cooked beetroots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and yam before they mix them individually with rice flour. To make green dough, they used the pandan leaves. The pastel colour dough was indeed special.
Once all the colourful dough are ready, Little C put her little hand into the bowl, pinch some dough, with a smile on her face she starts to roll her dough while she sings.
I have little little dough in my hand
With happiness and smile I roll my dough
I have little little dough in my heart
In my heart and hands I roll my little dough
(tune to ‘I have little little happy in my heart’)
When she stops singing, she opens her hand and a near perfect round ball stood brightly on her palm. Little C was brimmed with pride. She carefully placed the ball on the plate. Mama and grandma saw her work and gave little C a nod and smile.
Little C than pinched another piece of dough.
Later that evening, everyone in the family got a few pieces of the sticky rice balls in a bowl. They are the most delicious sticky rice balls soup as every bite is fills with love and happiness. After eaten the sticky rice balls, everyone is a year older too.
Little C is a year older and made her first yummiest sticky rice ball soup.
#1. Through the story I hope that the children will learn not to give up but to try her best. At the same time, appearance does not matter as it is the thoughts that count.