The winter solstice here is a day for celebration for most families, though it is not as big as the New Year’s Eve nor the Lantern Festive, on this day people get together for having some sweet soup with sticky rice balls in many cities in Taiwan. For elders who are still following the lunar calendar, it is the symbol that people grow up as an adult. Some local customs are slightly different than other regions, according to the news, the people who live in Changhua are lining up for having mochi instead of sweet soup.
It was believed by some people that the winter solstice is the haunted day that people will have the chance of being possessed by evil things. The weather is cold with the fewest hours of having sunlight during the whole year, hence creating many ghost stories in this day. For Taiwanese, we tend to eat hot foods during the winter though cold foods do not bother people at all. Young people like to visit hot pot restaurants to have meals, because it’s a nice place to chat and eat with friends without having too much trouble cooking by themselves. No matter what kind of reasons that people have in winter solstice, it is a day that people can celebrate with each other.
For people who have stayed in Taiwan for a while, it may not be difficult to taste this dessert. You can see this sweet soup either at temples for praying to Gods, or at the traditional wedding ceremony as an dessert option. The white color of ball represents having good fortune, while the pink color means attracting good marriage.
It is a very common cooking way in Asia, including Japan, Korea, China and some other countries. Just like the name goes, people put a pot in front of table with canned gas appliance to make it hot, and pour all ingredients inside to let foods water boil. The soup bases are diversified with different flavors, some people like to taste spicy foods, some prefer plain taste.
On this day, some people pray at temples for having safe life; even though people can visit temples at any day they want. If they are afraid of being possessed by ghosts, the best way to avoid invisible threat seems to have Gods to protect human beings. At least this is common belief by people here. If you are not a fan of temples, and you don’t have any religion, the best way to enjoy your Taiwan life could be started from foods.