Happy Rice Dumpling Day, pallies! Today, Chinese the world over celebrates the Duan Wu festival.
Part of the fun besides eating is the exchange of dumplings with neighbours, friends and relatives. There's always an element of surprise in unwrapping those pyramid-shaped packages. You never know what 'treasures' are buried in each package as the fillings used differ from one cook to another.
These rice dumplings aren't the easiest of things to make. A lot of work goes into the cooking of the meat and other fillings, boiling the bamboo leaves and cleaning them, wrapping, tying with reed strings and then the long hours taken to boil the dumplings. The wrapping itself can be quite a frustrating and fiddly task for newbies.
|Ingredients that go into the dumplings|
These days, we can enjoy those sticky dumplings any time of the year as they are sold by vendors all year round.
|A rice dumpling vendor|
Celebrated by the Chinese worldwide, the festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese calendar. On this day, the Chinese will feast on dumplings as a holiday tradition and in memory of the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan.
The tragic story goes like this…......
A long, long time ago in ancient China, there lived a poet by the name of Qu Yuan who served the Emperor of the Chu Kingdom. He was a good minister and was loved and respected by many. However, this did not go well with jealous and corrupt court officials who successfully influenced the weak-minded emperor to dismiss and exile him.
Devastated and angry, Qu Yuan tied himself to a rock and jumped into a river as a protest against injustice and corruption. Word about his suicide got out and the common people went to the river to search for his body in boats. When they failed to find his body, they started beating their drums and splashing the water with their paddles, hoping to scare the fish away so that they would not devour his body. Others started making rice dumplings to throw into the river in the belief that the fish and other aquatic creatures would feed on their dumplings instead of Qu Yuan's body. However, late one night, the spirit of Qu Yuan appeared before his friends and told them that the rice meant for him was being intercepted by a huge river dragon. He asked his friends to wrap their rice into three-cornered packages to ward off the dragon.
Since then, the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar was set as "Duan Wu Jie" (i.e. Dumpling Festival), to commemorate the incident. Dragon boat races are also held annually on this day of his death.
|image credit - http://go2taiwan.net/mobile/blog/42|
|image credit - http://www.tofoodwithlove.com|
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