The secret behind the zongzi

Chinese celebrates the Duan Wu Festival (端午節) on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which this year falls on 23rd June.

The most widely told story of the origin of the festival is that it commemorates the death of Qu Yuan (屈原), a patriotic minister and poet to the court of Emperor Huai (楚懷王) of the Chu Kingdom (楚國) during the Warring Sates period (春秋戰國) around 300 BCE. After serving the emperor loyally for many years, Qu Yuan ran afoul of court politics and was banished. He was devastated and started writing poetry lamenting the loss of the emperor’s favor and the decline of his native kingdom. Saddened by the eventual fall of the Chu Kingdom and the death of Emperor Huai he killed himself in the Mi Luo River (汨羅江).

After Qu Yuan killed himself, according to the legend, people made rice dumplings wrapped in leaves and scattered them in the river to prevent the fish from eating the poet’s body.

That’s why Duan Wu Festival celebration always includes zongzi (粽子).

However, there is a deep dark secret that is not often discussed.

In 1944 Sun Chizhou (孫次舟), a Chinese literature professor in Sichuan, published an article asserting that Qu Yuan was the homosexual lover of the emperor.
Professor Sun quoted passages from Qu’s epic poem of lamentation “Li Sao” (離騷). In it the poet described himself as a “beauty” in feminine term (美人) and referred to the emperor by the term “lingxiu” (靈修), which is commonly used by women to refer to their “lovers.”

Ever since this essay was published there’s been endless controversies about Qu’s sexuality. Most Chinese scholars continue to insist that this suggestion is absurd.
But you can decide for yourself by reading the classic work if you understand Chinese. (or go to link here)

hmmmm…. could it be that’s why there are 3 tastes of zongzi, the salty one, the sweet one, and the original one?


posted by: Admin


About Gan Meng Foo (颜明富)

Generation X-er for Malaysia: Yes to National Spirit, Acceptance, Social Justice

Posted on June 22, 2012, in Community, Festival, Malaysia and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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