Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival

This is the holiday that ain't this year- last year it was on Thursday and I got a 4-day weekend! This year it's on Sunday and I get nothin'.

Last year, all I knew was that for Dragon Boat Festival, people race these long boats (like 10 people rowing?) that have a dragon on the stern.
And people give you these "zong-zi"= it's a triangularish sticky rice thing wrapped in a corn or bamboo leaf (which you don't eat). Inside is a Surprise- can be dried fruit, meat, nuts, whatever. I wouldn't mind them so much if I knew what I was getting inside. Everyone gives you zong-zi to eat. (The pics are from the internet, not my own- but at least you get to see pictures on my boring blog!)

This year, one of my classes read a story book that included the story of Dragon Boat Festival, so I'm an expert. It's a cool story. Back in Ancient China, there was this poet whom the king loved and who loved the king. (Yeah, they were learning who and whom in that story.) There were some bad guys who were jealous and somehow they got the king to let them kill the poet and throw his body into the river.

Later, the king figured it all out, and he was sad (because the poet really loved his king!) and the people were sad because they loved the poet. They didn't want the fish to eat the poet's body so they threw lots of rice into the river for the fish to eat, and they all drove their dragon boats up and down the river so the rice would stay stirred up so the fish would eat it.

Cool story, eh? I thought that this was that rare holiday that wasn't about ghosts and stuff but then at work they gave me this little sachet thing to wear around my neck and they said it was for dragon boat festival, "to keep the bad spirits away." So I said I couldn't wear it because I'm very careful about spirits, and they said, "It's not real! It doesn't really work!" But still of course I wouldn't wear it. It didn't go over too well but what can you do.

I guess it has something to do with this is the 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar calendar. Also lots of people were out burning ghost money today. So you can never escape the holiday ghosts.

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