Dragon Boat Festival, or Duan Wu Festival, is an annual holiday celebrated 5th of May in the Lunar calendar. It is a 2,000 year old tradition in China to commemorate Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet. The festival originated in southern China but is now widely celebrated all over the country.
The main objective of the festival is to dispel disease, invoke good health and prepare for the coming summer months. Many households’ burn mugwort and herbs to cleanse their homes of evil and welcome the summer heat. The holiday also commemorates the suicide of Qu Yuan, who died in the Miluo River in 278 BCE. The people of Chu tried to save him, believing that Qu Yuan was an honourable man; they searched desperately in their boats but were unable to save him. Every year the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to remember this attempt at rescuing Qu Yuan. Celebrations also include drinking realgar wine and eating Zong Zi – a sticky rice dumpling wrapped in reed leaves.
This year the festival falls on June 7th and we are celebrating with homemade Zong Zi!
It is customary to enjoy Zong Zi dumplings during the Dragon Boat Festival as a memorial to Qu Yuan. The Chinese Zong Zi is not only made for the festival. It is available at any time of the year, with local areas have developed their own styles and varieties of dumpling.
The main ingredient of Zong Zi is the glutinous rice. The next most important ingredient is the bamboo or reed leaves which form the wrapping and make Zong Zi distinct from other types of Chinese dumplings.
Our Zong Zi is made from using Phoenix culinary herbs so not only do they taste good, we know the ingredients are non-sulphur treated and free from pesticides and herbicides. We made two delicious types, so everyone in the office can enjoy them!
The meat Zong Zi has a very delicate taste with a slightly salty/sweet flavour. The ingredients include:
- Da Hong Zao (Red Jujube Dates)
- Hong Dou (Red Beans)
- Lu Dou (Green Beans)
- Dong Gu (Shiitake Mushroom
- La Rou (Chinese Bacon)
Whereas the vegetarian Zong Zi has a much sweeter flavour. It is usually dipped in white sugar and eaten as a dessert! The ingredients include: