Friday, June 22, 2012


Tomorrow is Dragon Boat Festival here in China, and as it falls on a Saturday then businesses take either the Friday before, or Monday after, to give people a three day weekend. It falls on the 5th day of the 5th month, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. And as with most festivals there is a special food to be eaten over this period. Also Dragon Boat races take place along the rivers.

The festival is to remember an ancient, famous Chinese poet, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself after being forbidden to write.  After his death the people would throw parcels of glutinous rice into the river for him to eat. So during this holiday people give "ZONGZI" as gifts and also make, or buy them to eat at home.

These parcels can be either sweet or savoury. The rice is boiled for a long time until it becomes very sticky. It is flavoured with pork for the savoury and red bean, or red bean paste for the sweet version. This is then wrapped in either bamboo leaves or reeds. Some are served plain, but are best enjoyed dipped into sugar to give them extra flavour.
Pork Zongzi

We were lucky enough to be given some homemade zongzi, made by the mother of one of my husbands colleagues. We felt very honoured to be given them. Some savoury and some sweet. We also received more zongzi from Wen, my Chinese friend. Once again the kindness and thoughtfulness of the people here is amazing. It all makes us feel very welcome, in what is a strange, and at the same time fascinating country. Makes us feel as if we belong, as if we are slowly being accepted.

To enjoy these parcels of rice they have to be boiled for 10 minutes before eating. I have to admit glutinous rice is not my favourite, but I do prefer the savoury to sweet. I won't be rushing out to buy more, but might be interesting next year to try and make some myself.

Red Bean Zongzi

I  feel privileged to be part of this ancient Chinese festival. My knowledge of Chines traditions increases with every passing holiday. I am enjoying learning about the culture but even more being part of the celebrations. I hope to experience many more before my time here is over.

1 comment:

  1. To all those who are celebrating Duanwu Festival, there is a tempting deal to enjoy! Enjoy 25% extra calling credit on every top up in spirit of Dragon Boat Festival!