I never really understood the purpose of rituals. My family aren’t church-going people and while there are a few things my family always used to do at certain times of the year (eg. Eating moon cake during the Autumn equinox), the meaning behind these traditions were lost to my parents. As for me, I always saw them as archaic.
After a particularly heavy and emotional evening last week, I finally learned the real reason we have rituals.
Rituals ground us. They require that we take a moment out of wherever we are in life to honour this connection to something greater than our current day and our little lives. Whether it’s a connection to our cultural roots or a connection to the Divine (with a capital D), rituals are a mindful moment and they can take on any shape or form. Also, apparently, the energy around this time of year (new season, new moon, etc.) is super intense. As in- if you aren’t grounded, you’ll get your butt kicked and handed to you.
If you don't have a regular ritual, fear not. You don't need sage sticks, incense, or even a meditation cushion. I invite you to create your own ritual whether it's going for a polar bear swim, pounding the pavement, or, like me, hitting the kitchen to make a modern twist on an old family favourite- glutinous rice balls, aka Tong Yuen.
FYI: Tong Yuen is often made during the winter solstice to symbolize a coming together of family during the season. I didn’t grow up with apple pie or homemade brownies but this was always a staple in my household.
What can I say? While I didn’t find the Divine while rolling those little balls, what I did find was a sense of meditative calm and clarity.