In today’s blog we will be learning about winter solstice or 동지 (冬至).
Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere. It begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 270° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 285°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 270°. In the calendar, it usually begins around 21 December (22 December East Asia time) and ends around 5 January.
In Korea, 동지 is commonly celebrated with family. Also known as small new year (작은 설). Family members and loved ones gather together and eat 팥죽.
팥 = Red bean
죽 = Porridge
팥죽 is a sweet red bean porridge with glutinous rice ball, called (새알심) meaning bird egg, because it looks like small bird's eggs. The same number of glutinous rice balls are added as the person's age. Just like eating rice-cake soup (떡국) on the first day of lunar new year marks being one year older, eating 동지 팥죽 also represents becoming one year older.
The tradition of eating 팥죽 on 동지 is said to originate when a son of a man named Gong Gong died on 동지 and created trouble and epidemic to the people, so they scattered red bean (which are believed to ward off evil spirits) around their houses. That tradition slowly transform to the red bean porridge Koreans eat today.
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Happy learning, fighting! 즐거운 공부 되세요! 파이팅!