The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival) is celebrated by the Chinese on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese calendar (June 8 this year).
The festival is celebrated to commemorate ancient poet Qu Yuan, who jumped into a river and killed himself after his country was conquered by the other.
Locals who admired his patriotism fed rice dumplings to the fishes in the river which he committed suicide so that the fish would not disturb his body… some others also rode on boats and beating on drums to scare away the fishes for the same purpose.
These acts are still practiced by the Chinese these days, albeit heavily modified. People these days would take part in dragon boat race and eat traditional rice dumplings called zongzi to celebrate the festival.
Dragon boat race is a huge tourist attraction in some places (Hong Kong, Taiwan etc.) during the festival each year.
Zongzi and Bakchang
Zongzi is made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Different region would have their own uniqueness in terms of flavours and shapes. It can be plain, sweet or salty.
The common zongzi that we made at home here is stuffed with nuts and meat. We normally called it bakchang literally meat-zongzi in Hokkien dialect).
Btw, my Chinese birthday is one the same day with this festival… we don’t often celebrate birthday according to Chinese calendar though.