Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dragon Boat Festival and 粽子
Today is a holiday in China. Its a day off of school, or staying home from work. In China, every holiday is spent with your family and this one is no different.

Today is:
 Dragon Boat Festival/端午节
Double Fifth/雙五節 It is sometimes called the Double Fifth, because it takes place on the 5th day of the 5th month, according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

People celebrate by racing Dragon Boats, but also by eating Zhong Zi/种子。It is basically sticky rice, stuffed with some kind of filling, and wrapped in a bamboo leaf. 

The story as to why we eat 种子 is a simple one. 
I admit, I am tired with everything that is happening, so I did not rewrite the story. This is the story of why we eat 种子

As a minister in the State of Chu - one of the seven warring states before Qin (221BC - 206BC) in China's first feudal dynasty - Qu Yuan supported the decision to fight against the powerful State of Qin (one of the seven states during the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC)) together with the State of Qi (ibid). However he was slandered by the aristocrat Zi Lan and was subsequently exiled by the King. In order to show his love and passion for his country, he wrote many enduring poems such as Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Asking Questions to the Heaven) and Jiu Ge (Nine Songs) and is therefore regarded as a famous poet in China's history. In 278 BC, after finishing his last masterpiece - Huai Sha (Embracing the Sand), he drowned himself in the river rather than see his country occupied and conquered by the State of Qin.
On hearing of Qu Yuan's death, all the local people nearby were in great distress. Fishermen searched for his body by sailing their boats down the river and other people threw food such as eggs and food like zongzi into the river to attract fish and other animals from destroying Qu Yuan's body. Later, many people imitated these acts to show their respect for this great patriotic poet and this practice continues today.
Because Qu Yuan died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, people decided to commemorate him on that day every year. Dragon boat racing and eating zongzi have become the central customs of the festival. For two thousand years, Qu Yuan's patriotic spirit has influenced numerous people and he remains revered by the people from all over the world.

Our boys were very scared to eat them, but we made them! This is an important part of the customs and life in China! I had hoped to get a picture of their friend sharing this expierence with them, but he did not want to! Honestly, most of the Chinese do not like 种子, they just eat them because it is tradition!

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