This Wednesday at 5pm, Omeida Chinese academy organized an interesting activity to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival.

When is the Dragon Boat Festival?

The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival, Duānwǔ Jié, Double Fifth, Tuen Ng Jit) is a traditional holiday that commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan (Chu Yuan). The festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

What is the legend of the Dragon Boat Festival?

In class, we get to know the traditional history story behind this festival also introducing the concept of ZongZi. Teacher Vivian gave us a vivid presentation about what people do in this festival, such as making rice dumplings (zongzi), drink realgar wine (xionghuangjiu), and race dragon boats. Other activities include hanging icons of Zhong Kui (a mythic guardian figure), hanging mugwort and calamus, taking long walks, writing spells and wearing perfumed medicine bags. All of these activities and games such as making an egg stand at noon were regarded by the ancients as an effective way of preventing disease, evil, while promoting good health and well-being. People sometimes wear talismans to fend off evil spirits or they may hang the picture of Zhong Kui, a guardian against evil spirits, on the door of their homes.


Our students can not wait to jump in and try it out!!! They work as a team.

Why do people eat zongzi on Dragon Boat Festival?

Sticky rice bundles (粽子 Zongzi /dzong-dzrr/) are made from sticky or glutinous rice and a filling, which is kneaded in. They are then wrapped in bamboo leaves in a pillow or triangular-based pyramid shapes, and tied with plant stems. If you are careful the bamboo leaves can be folded back like a wrapper so that you don’t get your fingers (too) sticky while eating them. They are often found sold at train and bus stations and make more of a meal than a snack (see Chinese Snacks). Glutinous rice is very filling.

In Yangshuo, zongzi are made differently, typical southern style. People in central Guangxi Province enjoy making zongzi in the shape of a big pillow, each one weighing over half a kilogram. People in the Guilin region prefer small, pillow-shaped zongzi. People in northern Guilin make zongzi in the shape of a dog’s head. Also the fillings used differ from one place to another. People around Guilin city often add a little baking soda to the filling to make the zongzi tastier, while people in Quanzhou County (northeast Guilin Prefecture) like to soak the glutinous rice in straw-ash water for additional flavoring.

Aunt Liu is giving out students a demonstration about how to make a zongzi. As an experienced cook, she is definitely the master in how to make zongzi.

How to Make Red Bean Zongzi

  1. Wash the glutinous rice and put it in water until soaked thoroughly.
  2. Wash and soak the red beans for 1½ hours, and then mix them with the glutinous rice.
  3. Wash and boil the bamboo leaves for half an hour and then put them into cold water to cool.
  4. With three or four bamboo leaves on your palm, fold the leaves into a cone-shaped or pyramid-shaped container and use a spoon to fill it with the mixture of glutinous rice and red beans.
  5. Then finish wrapping it and tie it up with a pre-soaked length of the straw.
  6. The zongzi must be bundled up firmly before boiling or steaming for two hours until they have fully bulged.

Clara and JuanJo made their first Zongzi! JuanJo say this is the most perfect shape of zongzi, haha, i have no comment on that, but isnt’t that triangle looks beautiful? we are very proud of our students, they learned a lot while having fun eating as well.

Some of them are struggling with the process because the rice just keeps coming out, and leaking from the bottom. Also, it is hard to wrap all of the content neatly in bamboo leaves, but I believe they will remember this experience.

How to Cook Zongzi

After the Zongzi is ready, get a medium-sized pot and neatly nest the zongzi inside, avoiding large gaps. Put a large plate directly on top of the zongzi to weigh them down. Fill the pot with cold water, until the zongzi are submerged. Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low/medium-low, and let it simmer for at least 7-8 hours. Once the 7-8 hours is up, eat the zongzi while they’re hot! Sweet zongzi can be enjoyed at room temperature, but savory zongzi are really the best when they’re steamy and delicious. To eat, simply cut the twine and unwrap the leaves to reveal the zongzi inside. Zongzi can be frozen after they cool to room temperature. To reheat, re-boil the zongzi in water for 15-20 minutes. Then you are ready to eat!!

German student Miriam and Russian student Iaroslav are obviously too excited about their zongzi wrapping techniques. The meaning of food is about the process, we make together, we eat together.