China Dongzhi or Jiaozi (dumpling ears)
Today is Dongzhi, or Winter Solstice, a traditional festival in China. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, today begins the coldest time of the year. There is a popular saying that if you don’t have dumplings on this day, your ears will freeze and fall off. So people, especially children, typically eat dumplings in northern China and glutinous rice balls in southern China.
The Chinese Legend of Winter Solstice dates back to the Eastern Han Dynasty. A renowned traditional Chinese physician saw the poor suffering from the chills and pains on their ears, so he had special dumplings stuffed with herbs and other ingredients made for them to help expel the cold. Since the dumplings are shaped like ears, he named them “Jiaoer.” From that time on, the tradition of eating Jiaozi (meaning dumplings) on Dongzhi began.