Sticky rice dumplings and boat races.....
This weekend is the Duanwu Festival (端午节, Duānwǔ jié), better known outside China as Dragon Boat Festival. The festival is historically associated with Qu Yuan 屈原 (340-287 BC), poet and minister during the Warring States Period in China, renowned for his patriotism and classical poetry. He was exiled and committed suicide in the Miluo River in today's Hubei Province on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar (therefore Duanwu, "double 5").
His admirers made Zongzi (粽子) or sticky rice dumplings and threw them in the river to distract fish from eating Qu Yuan’s corpse. Also they were racing fiercely on the river with colorful boats to scare the fish away, dragon boat races.
The fifth lunar month is also considered an unlucky month with chance for disasters and illnesses. People would put herbs above the doors at this day to scare evil away. Early last century, Duanwu was also known as the Festival of Five Poisonous Insects (毒虫节), considered the worst time in summer for insects to infect people.
Today it is an official holiday with many traditions, delicious rice dumplings with sweets or savory fillings, and foremost a precious time to be together with family.
Happy holidays everyone !