Sunday, June 8, 2008

Duan Wu Jie - the Chang Festival

Today is Duan Wu Jie, the fifth day of the fifth month according to the lunar calendar. This day is set aside to commemorate the death of a famous Chinese patriotic poet and Prime Minister Qu Yuan who committed suicide at Milo River in China. Feeling very sad, he ended his life because his suggestions to improve the state economically, politically and defence-wise were rejected by the Emperor resulting in a war.

On this day, the Chinese will prepare zhong zi or chang in Hokkien, a type of food made of glutinous rice with fillings such as mushrooms, meat, nuts and so on. Initially the aim was to throw this food into the river so that it would be eaten by the fish so that they would not eat the body of Qu Yuan.

The photo below shows the traditional chang as prepared by my mother-in-law. We were given some to satisfy our palates. You should taste one of them as it is really delicious.

Typical 'chang' (rice dumpling)

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