Dragon Boat Festival is a Chinese festival commemorating the Legend Qu Yuan, one of the greatest poets in Chinese history. Qu Yuan was exiled by the king during the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC) and chose to drown in a river rather than suffer through the conquering of his home, State of Qin. Legend has it that the dragon boat race takes place to find the body of ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Local people throw rice into a river to keep the fish away from eating Qu Yuan’s body. Qu Yuan died on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, which is why the Chinese commemorate his death every year during this time.

Dragon boat racing is a traditional celebration during this lunar period. A team of people maneuver oars in an open boat, which is shaped as a Chinese dragon at both ends, to reach a final destination aiming to beat other teams. Traditionally, one member sits at the front of the boat beating a large drum to keep rowers in time and keep up the morale of the team.

Dragon boat racing and eating zongzi, sticky rice dumplings, are the traditions and customs of the Chinese festival. Let’s look at what Chinese Canadians love to eat during Dragon Boat Festival:

Zongzi – Glutinous rice and bamboo leaves; rice-filled dumplings wrapped in leaves.

1. Zongzi

Maqiu (fried cake) – Dessert ball made of wheat or sticky rice flour covered with sesame seeds.

Dagao – A glutinous rice cake made of boiled sticky rice, which is beat repeatedly into a paste, and sugar or honey.

Eggs steamed with Tea (Chayedan) – Chicken, duck, or goose eggs boiled in tea. Hanging eggs on children’s necks are believed to help rid them of bad luck.

Ricefield Eel (Manyu) – A nutritious delicacy stewed with tofu and mushrooms or braised with garlic in a soup.

Don’t miss out on your chance to eat these traditional Chinese foods this Dragon Boat Festival!