Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is fast approaching. Also known as Duan Wu Festival, this is a traditional Chinese festival that commemorates the death of one of the greatest Chinese poets - Qu Yuan - and is celebrated by dragon boat racing and eating sticky rice dumplings (Zong Zi). The festival follows the Chinese lunar calendar, so the date of celebration varies year to year. This year, the Dragon Boat Festival falls on 30 May.
Dragon Boat racing holds significance during Duan Wu, as legend has it, the people tried to save Qu Yuan from his death by rushing out onto the water in their fishing boats to the middle of the river, beating their drums and splashing the water with paddles to keep the fish and evil spirits from his body.
Later on, they scattered rice into the water to prevent him from suffering hunger.
However, late one night, the spirit of Qu Yuan appeared before his friends and told them that the rice meant for him was being intercepted by a huge river dragon. He asked his friends to wrap their rice into three-cornered silk packages to ward off the dragon. This has been a traditional food ever since known as Zong Zi.
Today, Dragon Boat festivals continue to be celebrated around the world with dragon boat racing.
As an international student studying in Australia, I don’t have many chances to watch dragon boat racing. However, the one thing that I would like to do is to eat sticky rice dumplings (Zong Zi). Pyramid-shaped Zong Zi are usually made from sticky rice, fresh meats, bean and egg yolks, and wrapped in reed leaves. During the festival, I would go to a Chinese restaurant to buy some sticky rice dumpling. Whenever I eat a sticky rice dumpling, I always recall what dragon boat festival is like back in my hometown in China where family members get together to watch dragon boat racing on the river while enjoying some sticky rice dumplings!
- The blog is contributed by Sylvan He, a Public Relations student at UTS.