Dumpling Festival

Today is the Chinese festival, Dragon Boat Festival / Dumpling Festival / 端午节. It falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar.

On this day, Chinese in Singapore would be eating rice dumplings with the family. There are many kinds of rice dumplings to choose from. My favourite rice dumpling would be the most common one, the Hokkien Rice Dumpling / Ba Zhang / 肉粽. This rice dumpling is made of glutinous rice with mushroom, chestnut and pork belly, wrapped in bamboo leaves.

A popular belief amongst the Chinese of eating rice dumpling involved commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period. Known for his patriotism, Qu Yuan tried unsuccessfully to warn his king and countrymen against the expansionism of their Qin neighbors. When the Qin general Bai Qi took Yingdu, the Chu capital, in 278 BC, Qu Yuan's grief was so intense that he drowned himself in the Miluo river after penning the Lament for Ying. According to legend, packets of rice were thrown into the river to prevent the fish from eating the poet's body [From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi]

Hopefully I will have the enthusiasm to make my own dumplings next year. Making rice dumplings is a very tedious (and oily) process.

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