Dumplings Warm Students Up on Dongzhi Festival

On Sunday December 22, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School (PKUSZ) international students were invited to take part in a dumpling making event to celebrate Dongzhi Festival (Winter Solstice). The event was held by the University Town Shenzhen Community Government at the Home for International Friends on the PKUSZ campus. Twenty international students had the wonderful opportunity to learn the art of dumpling making from volunteers in the community.  

The event was a major success with an excess of 300 dumplings of all shapes, sizes, and fillings being enjoyed by local and international students alike. Angelos Kokkinos, management student at Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS), said, “I’m glad we had the chance to get together and celebrate Dongzhi by making dumplings, the ayis (volunteers) that taught us were so welcoming and helpful.” Kirti Krishan, management student at PHBS, added, “It was super interesting to learn the process from the local community, especially since it was on the occasion of Dongzhi Festival. It made it more special.”

Of course, the time spent together with friends was most special of all. Indra Wachendorf, exchange student from Germany, remarked “I particularly enjoyed the atmosphere around all of us as everyone was enjoying it and having fun.”

What is Dongzhi?

Winter Solstice day marks the day when the sun is the furthest away from the northern hemisphere. Essentially, it marks the transition from autumn to winter. Dongzhi’s history can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (221 BC – 220AD) and is celebrated in many north-east Asian countries.

Why Eat Dumplings?

Northern Chinese typically eat dumplings on Dongzhi because of a famous story. The story originates from a doctor Zhang Zhongjing the “inventor of dumplings”. It is said that he prepared dumpling soup and offered it to his patients. The soup both prevented and cured Chinese people from getting frostbitten ears during winter. Because of this, a famous saying is often uttered on Dongzhi “你不吃饺子你耳朵会冻掉的 ” “If you don’t eat dumplings on Dongzhi, you will get frozen ears!”. Luckily, the shrewd efforts of the staff, local volunteers, and Shenzhen’s climate resulted in no cases of frostbitten ears being reported.

Some People Eat Tangyuan?

In Southern Chinese culture, it is more common to eat tangyuan on Dongzhi. Tangyuan (汤圆, Tāngyuán) literally means “soup balls”, some may call them “sweet dumplings”. Moreover, it is common to return to your family on this day and eat tangyuan together.

Dumpling Making

Ever wonder how this traditional Chinese dish is created? Franzi Brack, an exchange student from Germany, said she enjoyed the event because “[she] always wanted to know the secret of the famous dumplings and how they are shaped.”

If you didn’t get the chance to join the event, we thought we could share a bit of the secret with you!

Step 1:

Cut the dumpling dough to an appropriate size

Step 2:

Role the dumpling dough into thin rounds

Step 3:

Fill the dumplings

Step 4:

Seal the dumplings

Step 5: Place in boiling water

Step 6: When dumpling floats to the top it is ready to consume

Step 7: Enjoy

By Lewis D-G


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