Rice Dumpling Festival:Promoting Vegetarian Zongzi

Chinese Rice Dumpling Festival  or Duan Wu Jie, literally means “Double Fifth Festival”, is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month based on Chinese calendar. Duan Wu is celebrated to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan in 287BC. Qu Yuan is a respected Chinese poet who drown himself out of sadness when his home state fallen to a conqueror’s hand.

Every year Tzu Chi Foundation will offer vegetarian Zongzi(dumpling) for their care recipients and needy. This year Klang Tzu Chi chapter also made more than 3000 pieces of Zongzi with the help of more than 50 volunteers to serve the needy and at the same time promoting vegetarianism.

The festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunisolar Chinese calendar. This is the source of the alternative name of Double Fifth.  The date varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In 2011, this fell on June 6 and in 2012 on June 23.


During Duanwu 2012 celebration, people will prepare and eat rice dumpling and drink realgar wine. Zongzi or simply Zong is a traditional Chinese food made of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. It is often stuffed with meat and vegetable fillings: chestnut, egg, mushroom, red bean or just simply without filling.

According to folklore stories, zongzi was originally made and thrown to river to prevent fish from eating the body of Qu Yuan. Duanwu is also often called Dragon Boat Festival since Chinese communities in many countries hold Dragon Boat race in spirit of Duanwu celebration.