Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Queen and the Dragon

(Queen image from Google images, Dragon boat race image from *dans on flickr)

So it happens that China and Australia both have a public holiday on the same day for two entirely different reasons.

On Monday 9th June...

Australia celebrates the Queen of England's birthday (which funnily is April 26) on the second Monday in June. It's a tradition that started in 1788 and has been kept since. Every year it's on a different date (but always in June) and it's a public holiday for most of the country.

China celebrates 端午节 (Duan wu jie - Glutinous Rice Dumping Festival) or Dragon Boat Festival, which occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. In 2008 it falls in June 8th (Since it falls on a Sunday the holiday is on the Monday). Like all Chinese festivals, there is an interesting story that goes with it (a summary can be found here) and it originated in 278 BC. It is tradition to eat sticky rice zongzi on this day, and of course have dragon boat races across rivers, lakes, or harbours.

(image from Wikipedia)

Personally, I love zongzis. My mother makes them from scratch and so I've grown up being used to eating them. They are an acquired taste though. The supermarket across the road from us sells them for 3 or 4 RMB depending on filling, steaming hot and fresh. I love it! They are such cheap, filling and nutritious things to eat :)

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