A good friend of mine called me on Skype earlier today. Bouncing and bubbly as she always be, told me that today is Chinese Valentine’s day.
I replied with an indifferent tone, asking, “Huh. so what’s that?”
Excitedly, she added on to use another similar Chinese term which sounded neither Russian, nor Tagalog language. Just to make sure I don’t give a deaf ear to her, I did ask politely to repeat that term.
Well, again, the Chinese term just sounded alien to me. (!)
To round up her topic before she totally gave up her message to me, she said today is “Yuan Xiao Jie“.
Finally, something familiar to understand what is “Yuan Xiao Jie“. It is also known as Chinese Lantern Festival (元宵節) in Taiwan.
Beside Lunar New Year and Mid Autumn Festival, Chinese Lantern Festival is considered one of the most important days in Chinese festival.
It’s the first full moon of lunar year. Full moon hanging in glittering sky on a cold night. An important night to signify the end of Lunar New Year celebration.
On reality, it might also mean for working adults to stop having that new year mood, start pulling up your sleeve and get back to work seriously. (!)
Children are different. To enjoy the night, there go out to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns.
Some mischievous boys would melt candles wax in in small pot, as if there were ever-curious scientists experimenting physics in laboratory.
Without my friend telling me about today’s Yuan Xiao Jie, I would have stayed at home doing my weekly house chores. So for me, I have my traditional Tang Yuan in red bean soup. Bought 2 bowls and finished it heartily.
It tasted awesomely sweet like honey in the rock. While eating it, I can feel the enthusiasm filled and began starting google what is Tang Yuan.
Tang Yuan is made from glutinous rice flour. Appearance is white in color, round shape, no bigger than a golf ball.
Before the final round shape, Tang Yuan is first filled with paste made from different ingredients. Usually, there are choices of red bean, black sesame and grounded peanuts.
On your very first bite on Tang Yuan made with good quality paste, the fillings might ooze out, just like McDonald’s hot apple pie with it’s sweet fillings. Comparatively, you will still agree that Tang Yuan is more mouth-watering and tantalizing.
Unlike other cooking style of red bean soup which is watery-base, Taiwanese style of red bean soup is cooked in thick paste, richly fortified with antioxidant from the beans.
Below I have taken a few snapshots of tasty Tang Yuan in red bean soup.
Tang Yuan, round shape no bigger than a golf ball fits into a tablespoon.
Last but not the meanest least, I wish everyone who read this post Happy Yuan Xiao Jie!
Young people were chaperoned in the streets in hopes of finding love. Matchmakers acted busily in hopes of pairing couples. The brightest lanterns were symbolic of good luck and hope. As time has passed, the festival no longer has such implications.