Duan Wu Festival 端午节[duān wǔ jié]

Duan Wu Festival, also known as the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, falls on the 5th day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. For 2023, it is on June 22nd. The traditions are eating zongzi 吃粽子 and dragon boat race 龙舟比赛.

What is zongzi

Zongzi is a dumpling made out of sticky rice, and traditionally wrapped in bamboo leaves. The filling varies across the region. In the Northern China, red bean paste is a popular filling. Zongzi from the South is usually savory. Some of the common fillings are salted duck eggs, pork and shiitake mushrooms.

The legend of zongzi

Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese folk festival observed annually over 2,000 years in China to commemorate Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), an ancient Chinese patriotic poet from Chu kingdom. When Chu’s capital city was occupied by another state, he was heartbroken. He expressed his anger and sorrow by writing the last patriotic poem of Huaisha. He clasped a heavy stone to his chest and leapt into the Milo River. People drove boats to throw rice packages in the river to prevent the fish from eating the poet’s body.

Originated from South China, Dragon Boat Festival enjoys higher popularity in southern areas, such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian Provinces.

Making of zongzi

After wrapping, zongzi need to be boiled or steamed for several hours depending on size and fillings added. It can easily be frozen for subsequent consumption once cooked.