The Dragon Boat Festival Falls on June 23 2012

The Dragon Boat Festival (端午節), one of the five most important holidays of the year in Chinese culture, will be celebrated this weekend on 23 June 2012. It takes place every year on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the Lunar Calendar. Thus, in Chinese it is known as Duan Wu Jie, or Double Fifth Day.  AsianInNY was at the 21st ANNUAL HONG KONG DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK last year celebrating the festival with over 170 teams and 2,000+ participants competing from around the World. Check our photos:

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated with dragon boat races. These can be held on rivers or lakes or at the beach.

Dragon Boat races will be held in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and many other locations around the world this weekend. They have already been held in Guangzhou, China; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Dragon Boat races will be held next weekend in Malaysia and Singapore. They will be held in San Francisco, California, and New York later in the year.

The Dragon Boat Festival dates back 2,000 years when a patriotic Chinese poet and statesman named Qu Yuan committed suicide by jumping into the Mi Lo River to protest against imperial corruption.

His supporters tried in vain to rescue him. They rowed boats out to him, beating drums in order to scare away the fish. They also threw rice dumplings into the water so that the fish would eat them rather than Qu Yuan’s corpse.

Over the centuries, these two customs have evolved into an annual tradition, which is gaining popularity around the world. In addition to dragon boats, people consume yummy dumplings made of sticky rice and other ingredients, which vary from region to region. These are wrapped in lotus leaves and steamed.

Zongzi (粽子) is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. Laotians, Thais, and Cambodians (known as nom asom) also have similar traditional dishes. In the Western world, they are also known as rice dumplings. In Indonesia and Malaysia, they are known as bakcang, bacang, or zang, a loanword from Hokkien, a Chinese dialect commonly used among Indonesian-Chinese, rather than Mandarin. Along the same lines, zongzi are more popularly known as machang among Chinese Filipinos.

So, don’t forget to eat a lot of zongzi and Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

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