Why Do Koreans Eat Red Bean Porridge On Winter Solstice?

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Winter solstice is the day that has the longest night and the shortest day. It’s called 동지 (pronounced ‘dong-ji’) in Korean. Winter solstice usually falls between December 21 to 23. This year, Korea’s 동지 is December 22.

Rice ball cake made with glutinous rice flour. We call it 새알심 because they look like bird’s eggs. (새알 means bird’s egg.)

Koreans traditionally eat red bean porridge (팥죽) on 동지. 팥죽 tastes sweet and healthy 🙂 The older generation tends to like it more than the younger generation.

Ingredients : 

  • Red beans (팥)
  • Glutinous rice (찹쌀)
  • Glutinous rice flour (찹쌀가루)
  • Rice (쌀)
  • Salt (소금)
  • Sugar (설탕)

Why do Koreans eat 팥죽 on winter solstice?

Koreans believed in the concept of yin and yang, a philosophical concept that describes opposite but interconnected forces.

Winter solstice is the day when the yin is the strongest. The ancestors ate red beans, which is the representative grain of yang, to balance the two forces.

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