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Treats for your inner dragon

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-23 07:45

Treats for your inner dragon

Zongzi, the pyramid-shaped steamed glutinous rice packages in bamboo or reed leaves, will be the most popular dish during the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Tasty rice dumplings with local variations in fillings have been a tradition of China's Dragon Boat Festival for centuries, the China Daily team reports.

You don't have to live in China long to know that the country's most popular foods usually have a good story behind them. That's particularly true of festival foods such as zongzi, the pyramid-shaped steamed glutinous rice packages in bamboo or reed leaves that have been associated with the Dragon Boat Festival for more than a millennium.

History and lore describe Qu Yuan variously as a poet, a patriot and an imperial adviser who lived during the turbulent Warring States Period (475-221 BC). When a rival kingdom occupied his home, the kingdom of Chu, Qu is said to have thrown himself into a river.

Local folks were unable to find his body in the water, so they dropped rice balls into the river to stop fish from eating his corpse.

Enter the dragon: A fisherman claimed Qu came to him in a dream, telling him that dragons had been eating most of the rice balls. After that, on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (the day Qu died), people would wrap the rice balls with chinaberry leaves and tie them up with colored threads before throwing them into the river to commemorate Qu's death.

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