The Dumpling Festival

The Dumpling Festival (“Duan Wu Jie”) is a colorful festival celebrated by Chinese worldwide on the 5th day of the 5th month of lunar calendar. It is a yearly event and during this day, the Chinese will commonly feast on dumplings (which we called “zong zi” in Chinese).

In the modern world today, “zong zi” are no longer thrown into rivers, but people still eat them as a holiday tradition and testament to Qu Yuan’s self-determination.During this day, it is also a tradition to organize the yearly dragon boat races and to eat dumplings. The dragon boat races are known to represent the search for the poet’s body and is a popular event in countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore and so on. It is also a common practice to exchange dumplings (either self-made or bought) amongst close friends and relatives.

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese patriotic poet by the name of “Qu Yuan” who serve the emperor in Chu Kingdom in ancient China. He was a good minister and was well loved by the people. However, bad evil court officials were jealous of Qu Yuan’s abilities and they successfully influenced the weak-minded emperor to dismiss and exile him.Feeling disheartened and angry, Qu Yuan tied himself to a rock and jumped into the Mi Luo river in Hunan province in order to protest against injustice and corruption.

When the people get to know of his death, they rowed their boats to the river to look for his body. When they failed to find his body, they started beating their drums and making loud noises nearby the river hoping to scare the fishes and sea creatures away so that they will not feed on his body. Others started making rice dumplings to throw into the river believing that the sea creatures and fishes will eat their dumplings instead of Qu Yuan’s body. It might be a naive belief, but the emotions were heartfelt and sincere.

Since then, the 5th day of the 5th month of lunar calendar was set as “Duan Wu Jie” (i.e. Dumpling Festival), to commemorate the incident.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WhatsApp chat
%d bloggers like this: