冬至 (tung zhi or arrival of winter) or 过冬(guo tong) or winter solstice (normally falls on 21st or 22nd December). The day of the year when the night is the longest and the daytime is the shortest. There's an old chinese sayings that 过冬大过年 or "winter festival is more important than chinese new year". I guess it's not so significant over here in tropical countries like Malaysia whereby the weather is hot and humid all year long. And, there's the saying that after eating 汤圆 (tang yuan) during 过冬, they will grow older by one year. Chinese festival dishes usually have auspicious and meaningful names. Tang yuan (汤圆) sounds similar to "tuan yuan"(团圆) which means family reunion.
I remember helping my mum making tang yuan during my secondary school times. Besides rolling the glutinous rice dough into little balls, I made few tang yuan with various size and shapes, including triangular shaped, pyramid shaped, cube shaped, cuboid shaped tang yuan. Haven't made those weird shaped tang yuan for long time already. Might be it's time for me to restart back ;) During those days, we prepared the tang yuan and cooked it with different ways. One way is cooked with chicken meat and vegetable. Another way is eat it together with sugar syrup. The third way is to mix the cooked tang yuan together with mixture of grounded peanut and sugar.(The taste is similar to muar chee) .