Our incredible illustrator, Mr Agus Prajogo recently celebrated the Duanwu. He said he celebrated the festival as he’s Chinese decent living in Malong, Indonesia. For the celebration they ate dumplings.
The legend of the Dragon Boat Festival
As a minister of the ancient state of Chu in the period of Warring States, Quyuan suggested to his king to resist the idea of creating an alliance with the already powerful Qin (another state), so that Chu and the other states’ power wouldn’t be overthrown. At first the emperor, Chuhuaiwang, agreed with this proposition and gave him the power to arrange the political work.
Despite this, there were those who disagreed with his theory, as well as many who were desperate to have his level of authority and power, leading to a growing campaign of those who wanted him banished.
In spite of his previous view, the king eventually decided to ally with the state of Qin. Quyuan was then immediately banished from the state for opposing the alliance and due to the act of treason. Even though he wrote a vast amount of poetry after he was alienated, his depression overcame him as he drowned himself in the Miluo River. The local people, who loved and respected him, raced their boats as quickly as they could down the river in order to try and rescue Quyuan, but it was to be to no avail. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.
They were unable to find his body, but out of respect, the locals threw balls of rice into the river in the hope that the fish would eat this instead of the body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi.
The food eaten during this period is called zongzi, which is made of rice and sometimes Chinese dates to give it a sweet taste. Adaptations of the flavour of the zongzi also include, for example, salty and spicy. The ingredients include rice, meat, bean paste, raisins and peanuts, among others.