端午节 duan1wu3jie2 (Dragon Boat Festival)
棕子zòngzi (modern style) for 端午节 duānwǔjié
水晶粽 shuǐjīngzòng (trad. triangular shaped mass of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves)
This is a modern version: 糯米 nuòmǐ (sticky rice); 淀粉 diànfěn (starch), 白砂糖 báishātáng (white sugar), 麦芽糖 màiyátáng (wheatgerm sugar), 精制大豆油 jīngzhìdàdòuyóu (refined soybean oil), 萝卜丁 luóbodīng (radish), 等等 deng deng wrapped in plastic - said to suit the modern lifestyle. I was told that foreigners are more likely to appreciate this version.
bodaweiJune 15, 2010, 01:52 AM
Some things remain traditional - a palm attached to the front door at 端午节 (Dragon Boat Festival)
There are two versions of this embellishment for the door - the long one (as pictured) is 菖蒲 chángpú (I am not sure of an English translation - I am told that strictly speaking it is not a palm) and the short one is 艾蒿 àihāo (moxa). The latter is used in 中药 zhōngyào (Chinese medicine). They are reputed to keep insects out of the house, oh... and ghosts.
When it was known that Qu Yuan had been lost forever, the local people began the tradition of throwing sacrificial cooked rice into the river for their lost hero. However, a local fisherman had a dream that Qu Yuan did not get any of the cooked rice that was thrown into the river in his honour. Instead the fish in the river were eating the rice. Thus, the locals decided to make zongzi to sink into the river in the hopes that it would reach Qu Yuan's body. The following year, the tradition of wrapping the rice in bamboo leaves to make zongzi began.
This story sounds entirely feasible compared to other aspects of the festival that I am still picking up (here and there) - lot of talk here about keeping out ghosts. As above, the 艾蒿 àihāo (moxa) keeps away both insects and ghosts - dual purpose.
Last night I was told that eating what they refer to as 大豆 but is actually a broadbean, the dish is called 煮蚕豆 zhǔcándòu (boiled broad beans), keeps away the ghosts. 蚕豆 cándòu = broadbean.
jen_not_jennyJune 17, 2010, 02:59 AM
I've seen something like this on neighbors' doors:
I believe this is the 菖蒲 of which you speak, bodawei...it's called calamus, apparently.
Do you think this is the same as the stuff in my photo? Possibly. I can't see quite enough of yours to be sure, but it looks like two different things tied together. The long stems/leaves (whatever they are) look what is in my photo. I started a 20 minute debate when I asked what this stuff is - I was talking to two agricultural researchers in the provincial government, they do this for a living. They argued and argued and then rang another 'expert' for the final word - that is how I got the words posted above.
jen_not_jennyJune 17, 2010, 03:12 AM
More new-fangled 粽子：
I tasted something like these at Starbucks. Not impressed. Give me the traditional stuff anytime.
New-fangled indeed. They look prettier than my examples at the top post, but probably taste just as bad. Actually I was relieved to find (on close inspection) that the ones in my photo contain gluten so I have a good excuse not to eat them. Fortunately the traditional 粽子 are gluten free (despite being 'glutinous') At the third and final 端午节 celebration I went to I was given a box of the traditional ones.
Your photo above looks to me like a zongzi-shaped plastic wrapper with a sweet inside. Please don't tell me you can eat the bit that's got blue characters printed on it! Or am I looking at the photo wrong?
I listed the zongzi ingredients under the photo - no, it is not a sweet (lolly) but it does have white sugar in it. You don't have to eat the plastic. :)
Well, the celebrations are over here and most people returned to work yesterday. Quite a few students though took Thursday and Friday off and made a week of it. What is happening to Chinese society when this kind of weak thinking creeps in?