Today is Duan Wu Jie, also known as Dragon Boat Festival and Double Fifth Day. It falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and is a widely celebrated festival among the Chinese.
According to legend, the origin of the festival was to pay respect to Qu Yuan, a minister of the Chu kingdom. Qu Yuan was a wise and articulate man, much-loved by the common people. He fought against rampant corruption that plagued the courts, thereby incurring the jealousy and hate of many officials. When he advised the Emperor Zhou to avoid conflict with the Qin Kingdom, the jealous officials convinced the emperor to remove him from service. In exile, he travelled for several years, writing and teaching. When he heard that Emperor Zhou had been defeated by the Qin, he threw himself into the Miluo River in despair and drowned. As he was so loved by the people, fishermen rushed out in long boats, beating drums to scare away fish and throwing zongzi (rice dumplings) into the water so that the fish would not eat Qu Yuan’s body.
Rice dumplings known as zongzi is the traditional food for the Dragon Boat Festival. These dumplings are made from glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. Here in Malaysia you can find a variety of fillings in the dumplings: pork, chicken, chestnut, salted egg, dried prawns, dried mushroom, peanuts, red bean paste and even curry.
To all my Chinese friends, I wish you all a very happy Duan Wu Jie.