Have you already tasted zongzi? The fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar is the Duanwu Festival (the “Dragon Boat Festival”), in which Chinese families prepare and consume zongzi, and dragon boat races are held in some locations. And do you know why zongzis are consumed for Duanwu and dragon boat races are held?
Legends and traditionsAccording to legend, this festival is intended to commemorate the patriot poet of Chinese antiquity Qu Yuan. Talented minister of the kingdom of Chu, at the time of the Warring Kingdoms, he launched many proposals for the good of the country and the people, which however would have damaged the interests of the nobles, who in fact opposed them, and he was exiled to a place remote.
Later the kingdom of Qu Yuan was invaded by the neighboring realms and on the day of the occupation of the capital, pierced by pain, he threw himself into a river. After his gesture the people of Chu, in pain, sounded gongs and drums and went out with them dragon-boats to help him, but in vain. To prevent fish and shrimp from devouring the body, the people made zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves), and threw them into the river.
Later, on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the tradition of consuming gli was born zongzi and hold competitions of dragon-boats. In addition to the zongzi and dragon boats, each locality has its own customs. For example, in many places people get up early to go to the mountains to collect sprigs of mugwort before dawn to hang on the front door; elsewhere in the north they eat hard-boiled eggs, while in the south they drink realgar wine. All this to ward off unhealthy airs and diseases before the arrival of summer, in the hope of a healthy and happy life.