Two weeks after the official Chinese New Year’s eve is the end of spring festival – Yuanxiaojie. This year Yuanxiaojie fell on a Sunday, so I didn’t have to work. The moon is full and the tradition locally is to eat “tang yuan” which roughly translates into soup balls.
The translation however doesn’t do the actual food justice. A tang yuan can be sweet or savory with different fillings included inside – my favorite is black sesame and peanut, but there are lots of options including different types of meatballs, chestnut, green tea flavor, taro, coconut… It looks like a little moon nestled in your bowl before you bite into them to discover the flavor.
This time of year they are on special at the supermarket and tang yuan shops pop up where people can get fresh ones made as well. One year a vendor that I work with gave me a couple of packages for free. Ours this year were left by Li’s mom that she hand made before she headed back after celebrating the festival and were a sweet mixture with goji berries which I hadn’t had before. To celebrate we boiled some up and watched the fireworks.
The year of the snake is starting well – and having tang yuan makes it even sweeter. One of my friends sent me a weixin with holiday wishes which had an animation of a tang yuan turning into a small snake which made me smile.
Have you noticed any traditions from other countries that you have adapted into your day to day life? Sometimes the small holidays are the easiest to absorb and make your own.