Thursday, June 09, 2005

Celebrating 端午节 (Duan Wu Jie)

looks like i spoke too soon regarding the rain. However.. the shower didn't last too long.. and honestly.. the weather's not much cooler.

Anyway.. it's 3rd of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar 五月初三 today you know wat it means? it means that chinese families all around the world are making and tying up rice dumplings or zhong zi (粽子) to celebrate Duan Wu Jie (端午节)on sat (which falls on 5th of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, 五月初五).

The festival is deeply rooted in chinese history and culture to commemorate a great patriot poet, Qu Yuan (屈原). Legend has it that Qu Yuan served in the court of Emperor Huai during the Warring States (475 - 221 BC). He was a wise and erudite man. His ability and fight against corruption antagonized other court officials. They exerted their evil influence on the Emperor, so the Emperor gradually dismissed Qu Yuan and eventually exiled him. During his exile, Qu Yuan did not give up. He traveled extensively, taught and wrote about his ideas. His works, the Lament (Li Sao), the Nine Chapters (Jiu Zhang), and Wen tian, are masterpieces and invaluable for studying ancient Chinese culture. He saw the gradual decline of his mother country, the Chu State. And when he heard that the Chu State was defeated by the strong Qin State, he was so despaired that he ended his life by flinging himself into the Miluo River.

Legend says after people heard he drowned, they were greatly dismayed. Fishermen raced to the spot in their boats to search for his body. Unable to find his body, people threw zongzi, eggs and other food into the river to feed fish, so hoped to salvage his body. Since then, people started to commemorate Qu Yuan through dragon boat races (赛龙舟), eating zongzi and other activities, on the anniversary of his death, the 5th of the fifth month.
(taken from here)

Singapore's no exception. This weekend, there'd be a dragon boat race at the Bedok reservoir. And come July (don't know why it is so late this year) there'd be the annual Singapore Dragon Boat Festival at the Marina Bay. You can go to Singapore Dragon Boat Association for more details.

It's one of my favorite festivals as my lunar birthday is always celebrated together with this festival. Every year, instead of eating longevity noodles, i'd be eating tons of rice dumplings instead. And guess what i'd be doing today? Yup.. helping my mum make dumplings! (errr.. i have yet to learn the right method in tying rice dumplings.. but i will get there!!)

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