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Thread: Happy Dragon Boat festival!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    New Mexico

    Happy Dragon Boat festival!

    Happy Dragon Boat festival

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    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Marvel zongzi

    Captain America rice dumplings are here to save the Dragon Boat Festival


    Marvel's marketing wheels were turning in time for Thursday's start of the Dragon Boat festival.

    Thanks to the American firm's tie up with Chinese dumpling maker Wu Fang Zhai, you can now buy Captain America, Ironman, Thor and Black Widow-themed rice dumplings for the festival, where the stodgy treats are an integral part of the celebrations.






    The dumplings are on sale across various retailers on Taobao, China's version of Amazon and eBay.

    Most reviews of the dumplings appear positive, with commenters saying: "The packaging was attractive, but when I opened the box I was surprised that (the dumplings) were delicious."

    Another commenter said: "I knew the men in my household would love the dumplings because of the packaging! If Iron Man says it's good, it's good."

    The dumplings come in these boxes.

    They also come in fancier shield-looking packages.

    If superheroes don't float your boat, other retailers are carrying Kungfu Panda and Mickey Mouse dumplings.

    The festival is also known as Duanwu Jie, and is a national holiday in China. It's also celebrated by Chinese communities across Asia in countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

    The festival is marked by dragon boat races, with teams rowing long boats in time with a drummer keeping rhythm at the head of the vessel.

    And at home, people celebrate by eating rice dumplings packed in triangular shapes and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The dumplings come in various flavours, some with meat in them and others with sweet bean fillings.

    The story in folklore most commonly associated with the festival is the death of a Chinese minister and poet, Qu Yuan, who lived during 300 BC and was said to have flung himself into the river as a political protest. People were looking for him in the water, and beat drums loudly in boats to scare the fish away from eating his body, and threw rice dumplings in so the fish would be distracted.

    [h/t Marketing Interactive]
    I would so knosh Black Widow's zongzi
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    In TIME

    A drummer keeps the rhythm for his teammates as they take part in dragon boat races held to celebrate the Tuen Ng festival in Hong Kong on June 9, 2016. Anthony Wallace—AFP/Getty Images

    The Dragon Boat Festival Has Nothing to do With Dragons. Here are Four Things to Know
    Ryan Kilpatrick
    May 29, 2017

    Tuesday marks the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar — an annual celebration known as Duanwu in Mandarin, Tuen Ng in Cantonese and the Dragon Boat Festival in the West. It's famous for the races held on that day in traditional paddled long boats, each ornamented with a dragon's head at the prow.
    Traditionally, Chinese fishing communities are the mainstays of dragon boat racing. But the races are also popular with businesses, schools, and institutions, who often throw together crews as a fun team-building exercise. In some cities, such as Hong Kong, it has become a competitive sport. While many teams still make offerings to the sea-goddess Ma-tsu and other traditional deities before they hit the water, the bulk of the team budget will go to earthly manufacturers of custom fiberglass boats, carbon-fiber paddles and an array of accessories that promise to give racers an edge.
    Here are four things about the Dragon Boat Festival you may not know:

    1. It's not about dragons. It's about an exiled poet who killed himself over 2,000 years ago

    The roots of Dragon Boat Festival are most often traced back to the suicide of scholar-official Qu Yuan in China's Warring States period, an era of division and strife that gave way to unification under “First Emperor” Qin Shi Huang in the third century B.C.
    Qu was a minister serving the King of state of Chu. Slandered by corrupt officials who competed for royal favor, Qu eventually left the capital and lived a life of exile back in his hometown, where he wrote what's considered some of the greatest poetry in the Chinese language.
    After he got word that the Chu capital had fallen to the Qin army, however, he waded into a river and drowned himself in despair at his country's downfall.
    Locals furiously paddled down the river to try to save him, to no avail. Later, they threw rice dumplings into the river as an offering to his spirit, and so that the fish wouldn’t feed on his remains. They also continued racing along the water with beating drums to ward off evil spirits, giving rise to the holiday’s two best-known traditions.

    2. It’s as much about the bites as the boats

    For the non-racers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and diaspora communities worldwide, the real highlight of the holiday is the special foods and drinks associated with it.
    The most iconic of these is a sticky rice dumpling known as zongzi in Mandarin. Boiled or steamed inside a sheath of bamboo or lotus leaves, they’re known and enjoyed in all corners of the Chinese-speaking world.
    Local variations on the filling, however, can lead to bitter debates. Zongzi in northern China are filled with sweet red bean paste or taro, while the southern variety contain cured pork belly, sausage, mushrooms and other savories.
    Taiwanese varieties feature the likes of salted eggs, peanuts, chestnuts and squid.
    In recent years, the fashion has been for luxe varieties, some of which can be extremely expensive.

    3. In 2005, it sparked a minor international incident

    Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated across East Asia. In Korea it’s known as Dano; in Japan it’s Tango; and in Vietnam they call it Tet Doan Ngo.
    When South Korea successfully sought UNESCO recognition for Dano celebrations in the coastal town of Gangneung in 2005, however, it caused a furor in China.
    Incensed Chinese patriots accused the Koreans of appropriating a Chinese holiday and brazenly trying to claim it as their own.
    UNESCO and Korean heritage officials hurriedly assured them that it was a particular local spin on the festival—and not its historical roots—that the listing recognized. But many Chinese have not forgotten the perceived slight, and continue to joke about Korean "cultural appropriation." Nonetheless, the row did leave a positive legacy for China, which redoubled efforts to preserve and celebrate the holiday within its borders.

    4. It only became an official holiday in China in 2008

    Although it has been a part of Chinese culture for centuries, Dragon Boat Festival has changed names more than a few times, and has fallen in and out of favor with the authorities.
    In Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China, two of modern China’s leading writers had it rechristened Poets’ Day. As the country fought off Japanese invasion, it became a time to celebrate both China’s literary tradition and Qu's patriotic credentials.
    Communist China embraced this patriotic interpretation of the holiday at first, but it later became the victim of changing ideological tides.
    During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Chairman Mao called on his followers to smash the “Four Olds”: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. As mobs of Red Guards ransacked temples and destroyed paintings, sculptures and books that predated his New China, traditional celebrations such as Dragon Boat Festival became more subdued.In more recent years, however, Dragon Boat Festival has made a big comeback in the People's Republic, propelled by a government that has sought to reposition itself as the defender of Chinese tradition rather than its destroyer.
    I've always admired the Kung Fu connection with Dragon Boat racing. One of my Shidi got into it, and we discussed doing some kind of article, but I've lost touch with him.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Stumbled on this nice vintage Smithsonian article

    The Legends Behind the Dragon Boat Festival
    Celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, Duanwu Jie honors storied history with culinary treats

    Hong Kong rowing teams compete during one of the many races that take place during the Dragon Boat Festival. (Associated Press)
    By Jeninne Lee-St. John
    MAY 14, 2009

    There are many competing explanations for Duanwu Jie, the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar—this year, May 28. All involve some combination of dragons, spirits, loyalty, honor and food—some of the most important traditions in Chinese culture. The festival’s main elements—now popular the world over—are racing long, narrow wooden boats decorated with dragons and eating sticky-rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves, called zongzi in Mandarin, and jung in Cantonese.

    “Usually Chinese festivals are explained by the traumatic death of some great paragon of virtue,” says Andrew Chittick, a professor of East Asian Humanities at Eckerd College in Florida.

    And so the story goes with Qu Yuan, an advisor in the court of Chu during the Warring States period of ancient China who was exiled by the emperor for perceived disloyalty. Qu Yuan had proposed a strategic alliance with the state of Qi in order to fend off the threatening state of Qin, but the emperor didn’t buy it and sent Qu Yuan off to the wilderness. Unfortunately, Qu Yuan was right about the threat presented by the Qin, which soon captured and imprisoned the Chu emperor. The next Chu king surrendered the state to their rivals. Upon hearing the tragic news, Qu Yuan in 278 B.C. drowned himself in the Miluo River in Hunan Province.

    In the first origin story of zongzi, told during the early Han dynasty, Qu Yuan became a water spirit after his death. “You can think of it as a ghost, a spirit energy that has to be appeased. There are a variety of ways one might appease a ghost but the best and most enduring is to give it food,” explains Chittick.

    For years after Qu Yuan’s death, his supporters threw rice in the water to feed his spirit, but the food, it was said, was always intercepted by a water dragon. (Master Chef Martin Yan, author and host of the pioneering Yan Can Cook TV show, suggests there may have been truth to this: “Some fresh water fish—like catfish—grow so huge that the Chinese considered them dragons.”) After a couple of centuries of this frustration, Qu Yuan came back to tell the people to wrap the rice in leaves, or stuff it into a bamboo stalk, so the dragon couldn’t eat it. It was only generations later that people began to retroactively credit Qu Yuan’s erstwhile lifesavers with starting the rice-ball-tossing tradition.

    To make sense of how the water dragon gets into the story, or indeed of the boats carved with dragons on them, we need to go back further in time—more than 6,000 years ago, the earliest dated figure of a dragon found within the boundaries of modern China. “One of the most important mythical creatures in Chinese mythology, the dragon is the controller of the rain, the river, the sea, and all other kinds of water; symbol of divine power and energy…. In the imperial era it was identified as the symbol of imperial power,” writes Deming An, Ph.D., a professor of folklore at the Institute of Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Beijing, and co-author of Handbook of Chinese Mythology. “In people’s imaginations, dragons usually live in water and are the controllers of rain.”

    Dragon boat racing is ascribed to organized celebrations of Qu Yuan beginning in the 5th or 6th century A.D. But scholars say the boats were first used hundreds of years earlier, perhaps for varied reasons. On the lunar calendar, May is the summer solstice period, the crucial time when rice seedlings were transplanted. At the same time, says An, “according to Chinese traditional belief, the date figured with double ‘5’ is extremely unlucky.” To ensure a good harvest, southern Chinese would have asked the dragons to watch over their crops, says Jessica Anderson Turner, a Handbook of Chinese Mythology contributor who holds a Ph.D. in folklore from the Indiana University. They would have decorated their boats with ornate dragon carvings, “and the rowing was symbolic of the planting of the rice back in the water,” Anderson Turner explains. This jibes with Yan’s explanation of the symbolism behind the shape of zongzi: tetrahedral. “The points are intended to resemble the horn of a cow,” Yan says, “which was a sacred symbol in the ancient agrarian culture for blessings and abundant crops.”

    In another interpretation, Chittick argues that the dragon boat races were “initially a military exercise” in the Hubei area, home of the state of Chu, which took place during the solstice because that’s when the river was highest. “Small boats were an important part of warfare. Then they turned it into a spectator sport.”

    These disparate histories and stories blended over time into the encompassing myth of Qu Yuan, seemingly without issue to the celebrators. “The combining of stories is how people make sense of things,” says Anderson Turner. “Myths are always changing to fit the needs of the community. For a lot of people, you can have both history and culture; both can be authentic and true.”

    Even the Qu Yuan story isn’t the only legend behind the celebration of Duanwu Jie. Some northern Chinese, Chittick explains, told the tale of a man who fled to the woods after being wronged by his lord. Trying to flush the man out, the lord burned down the forest and accidentally killed the loyal servant. Another competing myth, from what is now the southern province of Fujian, is that of Wu Zixu, who was also wronged by his king—and later by the king to whom he had defected. Wu Zixu’s story involves revenge, triumphant battles, the whipping of his old foe’s corpse, and suicide. As a final act, he asked that, once dead, his head be removed and placed on the city gate so he could watch the invaders take over his betrayers. The body of Wu Zixu was tossed in the river and his fury is said to create raging tides, and so he is worshipped as a river god in parts of China—which is why some connect him with the Dragon Boat Festival.

    But Qu Yuan became the face of Duanwu Jie, because he was a prolific polemical poet whose work was studied and loved by generations of Chinese scholars who followed him. “One reason Qu Yuan wins the drowning war is that his story was written in historical texts—over and over,” says Anderson Turner. Having demonstrated both love for his country and contempt for the ungracious ruling class, he is known as the People’s Poet. For the Chinese, Qu Yuan has transcended the simple story of his self-sacrifice, coming to represent the very embodiment of patriotism.

    Likewise, both the Dragon Boat races and zongzi have become much bigger than just the holiday. In many places, if you head to a waterway on the weekend of May 28, you’ll find the intricately decorated boats manned by two rows of paddlers egged on by loud drummers. But if you miss the festival, there are other chances: the International Dragon Boat Federation is the umbrella group for rowing clubs all over the world who compete year-round; they’ll hold this year’s world championships in August in Prague.

    As part of the festival, zongzi has become just as ubiquitous as the dragon boats, thanks to the great Chinese diaspora. Today you can get the sticky rice balls anywhere there’s a Chinese population, Yan says: year-round in convenience stores in New York’s Chinatown, as bite-size delicacies in tea houses in Hong Kong, as an on-the-go snack for tourists in Cambodia, wrapped in a pandan leaf in Malaysia.

    Does the omnipresence of these traditions dissipate the power of a myth that has been celebrated annually for 1500 years? As the evolution of Qu Yuan’s story proves, traditions change. The strongest ones endure despite alterations. Back in the day, Anderson Turner notes, rowers who fell out of the dragon boats were left to fend for themselves or drown because their fate was seen as the will of the dragon deities. “I haven’t talked to any contemporary dragon boat racers and asked why they do save people who fall out now,” she says. “But I’d bet they could reconcile doing so with keeping to the spirit of the story.”

    We actually ran an article about Zongzi and the Dragon Boat Festival back when we had a cultural recipe column called Buddha's Kitchen by Alvina Hsu & Flora Parhizgari. It was in our June 2000 issue.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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