Dragon Boat Festival:
Zongzi Making Activity
On the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the Dragon boat festival also known as Duanwu Festival is held in memory of Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan was a prime minister during the Warring States Period that drowned himself in the river. It is said that Qu was a highly esteemed wise minister that brought prosperity in the state of Chu. He, however, committed suicide after realizing that the state was now in the hands of evil when a dishonest and corrupt prince ascended to rulership. It is said that some fishermen tried saving him but failed and couldn’t recover his body. As expected, He was greatly mourned and in his honour, the people threw rice into the river. In case you are wondering the state of Chu fail and was conquered by the state of Qin.
It is from here that festival originated and now is celebrated throughout China. Usually, the festival is marked by eating rice that is wrapped in leaves, often reed leaves, and dragon boat racing is conducted in most areas that have rivers and lakes. The first quarter of the year 2020 has however proven to be excellent at minimizing public gathering due to COVID-19 and the dragon boat festival was no exception. The celebration of the festival was conducted minus the dragon boat racing competition in most parts of the country.
Despite the many happenings caused by the epidemic, the College of International Education of Wenzhou University arranged a Zong Zi making activity. The activity was aimed at enabling the international students to have an experience of the fine touch of Chinese culture during the Dragon Boat Festival. During this activity, the students were provided with the necessary ingredients inclusive of glutinous rice, pork, duck egg yolk(salted), reed leaves, and this time dates(fruits). The dates were used to make sweet Zongzi the pork and salted yolk was used to make salted one. The activity was attended by a limited number of students along with representatives of the college, and officials from the Immigration office, and of course the professional aunties that were teaching us how to make Zongzi.
Participants in the Dragon boat festival Zongzi making activity
The Zongzi is made by filling rice and other ingredients in reed leaves that are folded into a pyramid-like shape. This folding is then held together by colourful strings which are fastened to avoid leaking of the ingredients. Now that I think of it, it is easier to write about it than it is to make it for the first time. Afterwards, the Zongzi is boiled for some hours and then it is ready to eat.
The activity was indeed fun and entertaining, a great sign that despite the havoc caused by the pandemic, happiness is always nearby and can be found even in the least expected things like making Zongzi.
Students, teachers, and Immigration Officials after making Zongzi at Wenzhou University