Dragon Boat Festival: A Celebration of Chinese Scholar and Poet, Qu Yuan

Dragon Boat Festival is a celebration that can be traced back thousands of years to China, where people marked this day to honor Chinese scholar and poet Qu Yuan and his death.

The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of May in the Lunar Calendar, while the Gregorian Calendar (used in the United States and much of the world) has it at the end of May or early in June. Therefore, the festival falls on a different day each year. This year the festival is on Friday, June 3.

Dragon Boat Racing is one of the most popular events that community members around the world host or participate in to celebrate this festival.

Traditionally, families who celebrate this day will make dozens of zongzi to share with families and friends. Each family may have its own recipe and variations of ingredients. Zongzi usually comes in a triangular shape, made up of sticky rice, pork, mung beans and peanuts wrapped in bamboo leaves.

Interestingly, foods that are wrapped in leaves exist in different cuisines. For example, in Thai cuisine, there is khao tom mat wrapped in banana leaves, in Mexican cuisine, there is tamale, opens a new window wrapped in corn leaves and in Mediterranean cuisine, there is dolma, opens a new window, wrapped in grape leaves.

If you are curious about these foods, or interested in learning more about the Dragon Boat Festival or Qu Yuan, we offer the following online resources that may assist your virtual food and culture adventure:

Yewno Discover allows users to browse for information and ideas through a Knowledge Map, and to review, build upon, and refine their search by making connections between related concepts.

World Book Online is a suite of online research tools for Pre-K to high school students and offers encyclopedia articles, educational games, current periodicals and much more. These resources can be filtered by student grade levels.

You may also want to check out these titles about Dragon Boat Festivals from our catalog:

My Dragon Boat Festival

Duan wu jie

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats

Awakening the Dragon

Dragon Boats

Duan wu zong mi xiang

Have you tried Zongzi or any of these foods wrapped in leaves? Do you know of any other food similar to these? Please let us know in the comments.