Dragon Boat Day

(Written on 6/1 but Dragon Boat Day is 5/31 so I’m backdating this)

Once there was a Chinese poet called Qu Yuan (??). Depending on who you ask, Qu Yuan either jumped or fell into a river and drowned, and the Chinese celebrate today as the anniversary of his death. (Maybe he wasn’t a very good poet?) Today is also Dragon Boat Day, a holiday involves which involves racing dragon boats and pushing poets off the boats. Ok, I may have made that part up. I think the races are actually to commemorate Qu Yuan.

I can’t seem to find two people who tell the story the same way, but everyone agrees this is a very important day. I’m actually pretty sad that my headmistress hasn’t included the foreigner teachers in celebrating Chinese holidays, but I’m not sure if that would be intruding. I think I’m biased because Stivison family holidays usually involve at least one friend from far away, like a British exchange student, the entire international student population of Wesleyan University…

Like all Chinese holidays, this one involves eating a lot. Today’s food is zong zi, which is a rice ball wrapped in a leaf. The rice can be filled with red bean, pork, sugar, fruit, fish or anything else you can think up. Instead of eating them, you can also thrown them into a river for the drowned poet.

Also, you’re supposed try to stand an egg on it’s end at exactly noon. If you can do this, you will have a very good year. And you should put a special kind of herb on your front door to protect your home from bad spirits. (I didn’t try either one, didn’t I already ruin my chanced by crying on New Year’s Day? And don’t I already have a good year from fireworks on Lantern Festival?)

Lily and her husband Bag invited me to have dinner with them, so we gorged ourselves at the nighttime food court as an appetizer for our zong zi. I love the night market, you can get such awesome food there! In fact, I think I’m starting to really love cheap Chinese food, it’s only the classy stuff that’s foul. Anything considered a delicacy is totally wasted on me. I had a really good time with Lily and Bag, eating good food, getting the elusive cold beer and just enjoying a summer evening by the beach.

This morning when I left the house, I saw that my neighbors had tucked some leaves into my door to protect me from bad spirits.

Related: Dragon Boat Day two years later in Beijing

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0 Responses to Dragon Boat Day

  1. Stuart says:

    My girlfriend told me that the bread or rice balls or whatever dropped into the water aren’t for the poet but for the fish, so they’ll eat the food and not nibble on the poet.

    So glad you’re protected from bad spirits. These are the same bad spirits who apparently can’t jump or turn corners, so I think you’ll be okay.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “entire international student population of wesleyan university”


  3. Meg says:

    Well you DID bring the every international student at Wesleyan!

  4. Pingback: Simpson’s Paradox » Blog Archive » Frustrations

  5. Detroiter says:

    China is for losers

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