18 June 2010

Zongzi


The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu festival, is a holiday in Chinese culture to commemorate Qu Yuan who was a famous scholar in ancient China. Supposedly he was upset with the affairs of the government and when he put in his two cents, they exiled him. He was also a poet and wrote about his feelings toward the kingdom and how it was ruled. One day, he couldn't bear it anymore and threw himself into a river and drowned himself.

Many of the local people considered him a hero and spent days paddling boats searching for his body. They also threw rice into the river so the fishes would eat the rice instead of his decaying body. Another version of the story is that they threw in rice to feed Qu Yuan and they wrapped the rice in bamboo leaves to give it weight so it would sink to the bottom of the river. Every year Chinese people eat this snack called "zongzi" to commemorate him.

They also do dragon boat races to see who can "find his body the fastest." Actually they are just racing. It's all symbolic really. Actually, I'm pretty terrible at telling stories. If you want to read a better explanation, go to our trusty friend Wikipedia.

My student, Cassie, brought me some zongzi filled with rice and pork that her mother cooked and some hardboiled eggs laid by her two chickens. Delicious! Ramsey doesn't like zongzi but I think it's growing on me.

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