端午節

Today is the fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar, Duan Wu Festival is celebrated and we have to eat粽子(Zong Zi-Mandarin/Ma Chang-Hokkien), which is rice dumpling. We were curious why we should eat it. We studied it during our primary schooling but I forgot the story behind it. My sister researched about it and found that it’s about commemorating the poet Qu Yuan was exiled and during that time wrote many poems. He then killed himself. The people used a dragon boat to drop some Ma Chang so that the fish won’t eat the poet’s body. When my uncle was asked what’s the origin of eating Ma Chang or giving Ma Chang, he said that it’s for Song Chong –sending someone to his/her final resting place, which sounds like Song Chong (Giving of Ma Chang). He was really right about that. The dragonboat rowing helps keep the fishes away from the body. The poet gained many followers and he contributed a lot in harbouring honor and love for one’s country.

I’ve seen some clips before on TV about families working together in making zong zi. Some stewed pork or chicken could be cooked with the sticky rice. Afterwards, the rice would be wrapped in leaves in triangular shapes.

It’s more meaningful now that I know the reason behind eating zong zi.

I saw a very cute picture of pandas playing with zong zi:

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90783/91324/7400694.html

 

5 thoughts on “端午節

  1. I heard that one cannot give the Chinese a clock as a giftbe cause “送钟” <> 的谐音是 “送终”. It might imply that you want the recipient(s) to be in his/her(their) “last moments”. Does this mean that giving “ma chang” insinuates the same thing (at least for the Chinese)?

    1. Yeah, I was pretty puzzled at that too when I found out about the origin. And I wondered why mom wanted us to eat zong zi, as in MUST eat. But I guess over the years, it’s become part of the tradition of the Chinese (public holiday in China, HK and Taiwan) to commemorate that date, even when one isn’t familiar with the origin. Probably akin to giving of Tikoy, it was associated to well-wishes or good luck to be the one giving, as well as the one receiving.

    1. that’s really weird!

      I found a text about the different traditions that originated thousands of years ago. Eating zong zi has been accustomed over the years, just like the other Chinese festivals, there’s a certain food or delicacy that comes with it. Since the zong zi was the one used to lure the fish away from the body of the poet, it has become a symbol used to commemorate him. Similar to the mooncake, which was used then to overthrow the Mongol rule. There was a message placed inside the cake that informed the people of the revolt that is about to take place.

      I also found another info about the double fifth (fifth day of the fifth month). It is said that during this time, the Yin (which in Chinese philosophy represents the negative and feminie) grows. People begin to prepare for the prevention for the five poisonous creatures, namely vipers, centipedes, scorpions, house lizards and toads then. So it’s the time when the people wish that no harm would come to them and pray for a healthy life.

      I guess eating and giving of Zong Zi is wishing prosperity too.

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