The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival is held annually on the 5th day of the 5th month for more than 2,000 years. The day commemorates the poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC).
Qu Yuan was passionate for his country and wrote poems Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Asking Questions to the Heaven) and Jiu Ge (Nine Songs). The poet supported the decision to fight against the State of Qin (476 BC – 221 BC)), but he was chastised by the aristocrat Zi Lan and exiled. After finishing his last poem, Huai Sha (Embracing the Sand), he decided to drown himself rather than see his country conquered by the State. Fishermen searched the waters and people threw food similar to zongzi (sungzeh) to attract animals from destroying the body, unfortunately, he was not found.
For 2000 years, Qu Yuan’s is still regarded as one of the famous Chinese poets, and in remembrance the love and passion for his country, boat racing and eating zongzi have become the custom.
A sticky rice with various fillings is wrapped in pyramid-shaped bamboo leaves. In North China, jujube is the filling, in the South, sweetened beans, fresh meat or egg yolk. I am delighted to partake on this special day with Beijing colleagues, Stephen Ang