Saturday, May 30, 2009

.: Duānwǔ Jié :.

May 28 2009.

Source:: Penang State International Dragon Boat Festival 2008/2009

An abridged version of the origin of 端午節 :: Commonly known as the Dragon Boat Festival [端午节/端午節] or Double Fifth, it falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. One of the popular legends relating to its origins in ancient China was the death of the great poet Qu Yuan [屈原]. Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar year.

As he was greatly loved by the local people, it was said that they threw food into the river to feed the fish to avoid Qu Yuan from being consumed. Over time, the locals began to serve dumplings wrapped in leaves that is believed to be the origin on zòngzi
[rice dumplings with fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves].

It was purportedly said that in order to frighten the fishes and evil spirits away or retrieve Qu Yuan's body, the locals began to hold Dragon Boat racings. As a result, during the Duānwǔ Festival, to traditionally commemorate Qu Yuan's death, the people will usually eat
zòngzi and have Dragon Boat races.

Since in that kingdom all my virtue spurn,
Why should I for the royal city yearn?
Wide though the world, no wisdom can be found,
I'll seek the stream where once the sage was drowned.

:: Further information about the festival held in Malaysia ::


Occasionally mum will make zòngzi. I apologize for the unflattering photos, but believe me, do not be deceived by its look. I wolfed down 5 of those little bundles of tasty morsels in a single shot. It was that good. :)

I have attended some Dragon Boat races in the past. Back then, I was more of a cultural experience freak and not into photography hence I have no photos of my own. The total experience was overwhelming and there was just so much noise coming from every direction! The rooting screams, the drumming, cries of tears and laughter --- absolutely astonishing and deafening! It was like some big-shot pop star made his/her stage presence. Anyway, the most breathtaking moment was seeing the paddlers in the middle of the sea, paddling in complete synchronization.

Amazing stuff.
9.27am Malaysian Time


Anonymous said...

Asslamu Aleikum,

Those little dumplings look absolutely delicious! :) Do you have a recipe? Great blog--please keep writing!

Hajar Alwi said...

Wa'alaikum'as'salam Sis. Thanks for dropping by. Insha'Allah, I'll keep it up. ^^

There are many recipes for it, because there are so many versions depending on the filling --- sweet @ spicy @ salty; the variety is endless really. I'd be glad to share it with you, just drop me an email on which one you'd like. :)

And I took a quick view of your blog. Will read through it after I'm done with classes. Thanks again for visiting!

Anonymous said...

The pic of zongzi is pretty good. They look delicious.
Do you have to remove the strings before eating or are they edible ones?
If they have rice filling, then they are almost like the Arabic Dulma. It is flavored rice stuffed and rolled in vine leaves.
Is Zongzi similar?

Hajar Alwi said...

Yes, the strings and leaves have to be removed. Traditionally, it is wrapped in bamboo leaves although there are variants using screwpine, banana, lotus etc. leaves.

I'm not familiar with dolma. I think there's another variety called sarma wrapped in cabbage leaves? The main difference [besides the inedible leaves] I notice is, zongzi use pre-cooked glutinous rice. Total duration to make zongzi [preparing glutinous rice-fillings-wrapping-boiling/cooking-drying it] takes about 3-6 hours, depending on the filling, leaves etc. Quite tricky @ tedious to make, hence people will normally buy it these days.

Yasemin said...

Knowing about my own walk family's walk with suicide by drowning, I found this extremely intriguing. I'm really glad that something good came out of his death. You guys are SO creative too. I love the uniforms. Sounds like a good way to get in shape! Love you dear.

Solace In Islam said...

I have always been fascinated by chinese culture - the festival looks so colourful!

Hajar Alwi said...

Lisa :: I'm sure she's in peace now. :)

It is certainly a good exercise as the paddlers/racers practice months for it! Love you too. ^

Solace In Islam :: It is colorful and LOUD! If you enlarge the picture, the drumming from the solar drums [lower left picture] sounds are equivalent to thunder!

RedAnna said...

how come i never know what is zongzi??

Hajar Alwi said...

Because we commonly refer to it as 'chang'. :) Ever heard of 'bak chang'?

The terms differ base on the dialects.

Zongzi = Mandarin
Chang = Hokkien / Teochew
Chung = Cantonese

I'm not familiar with Hakka, Hainan, Hokchiu, etc dialects so they may call it something else. :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, then Zongzi is quite different from Dolma. In case of both cabbage & vine wrappings, the leaves are edible. And i believe, the rice used for filling is soaked but uncooked. It gets cooked as the entire thing is steamed. Then tomatoe sauce is poured over it.
Both the Malay & Arabic variety, though nice to eat, are too time-consuming to prepare. 6hrs! Better to have the store-bought ones or have the elderly ladies of the family prepare them (as they have far more free time than us!).

Hajar Alwi said...

It is quite different.

LoL~ Zongzi is not a Malay variety. It's actually from the Chinese. The Malays have a kind that is quite similar typically eaten during Eid, known as 'ketupat' but we do not have any fillings in it. :)

Precisely! Nowadays, people hardly make it on their own whereas store bought ones aren't as fulfilling. :(