Dragon Boat Festival

Let’s celebrate together!

Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional holiday celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar (in 2020, it is happening on June 25th). In Taiwan and China, the Dragon Boat Festival is a public holiday. It has a rich history as it has been celebrated for over 2,000 years. This holiday commemorates Qu Yuan, an important historical figure who was a patriotic minister and a poet that wrote many poems dedicated to China. During this festival, people watch or participate in dragon boat races and get together with their family and friends to enjoy delicious holiday meals. As this festival takes place at the beginning of summer, many of the holiday-related activities and foods are focused around helping to cope with the heat and the notorious summer bugs.

Foods to celebrate:

Zongzi, a traditional sticky rice dumpling that is made with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. Zongzi can be either sweet or savoury. The sweet ones are usually made with red beans, dates, and rose, and the savoury ones are often made with diced meat, pork fat, ham, and dried shrimp. Some of the popular shapes for zongzi are a pillow, a cone, and a triangular pyramid.

Here are some Zongzi recipes to try:
    Sweet: Click here for recipe
    Savoury: Click here for recipe

You can use any other type of meat for this recipe.
For vegetarian zongzi, substitute meat with legumes, mushrooms, or other vegetables.
Eggplant, green beans, peaches, and plums are all in season during this holiday. According to traditional Chinese medicine, these are cooling foods. Some Chinese people believe that these foods have “cooling” properties. 

Holiday activities for children

  • Watch dragon boat races in person or online.
  • Balance an egg. It is thought that you are only able to balance a raw egg so that it stands on its own at exactly 12 pm on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3175473
  • Make a traditional perfume pouch filled with herbs and vanilla. People believe that these pouches protect them from evil and bring good fortune. 
  • Make a bracelet with strings of 5 lucky colours: green, red, white, black and yellow.

To learn more about the Dragon Boat Festival and to get involved:

Content provided by 3rd year UBC Dietetic Students, Eileen Huang and Vlada Klymenko