The fifth day of the fifth Chinese month (June 20 this year) is also known as the Feast of the Summer Solstice or Upright Sun. People flock to the banks of rivers and lakes to watch brightly colored dragon boat races. It was believed that this would encourage the dragons in the heavens to fight, thus bringing rain at a time when it is needed for the crops (although now this is often the end of the rainy season).
The traditional food is zongzi, triangular rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. In ancient China, they were stuffed with cherries, mulberries, peaches, apricots, and other seasonal fruits. The traditional drink is realgar wine, which is considered an antidote against poison. Continue reading