This weekend marks the annual Dragon Boat Festival! This festival celebrates the death of poet and minister Qu Yuan, who fell out of favor with the emperor, lived in exile writing poetry for years, and finally committed suicide by drowning. The local people rushed out in boats to try to find him — the beginning of the annual dragon boat races — and, unable to find him, they threw balls of sticky rice into the river so the fish would eat them instead of Qu’s body.
I won’t make it to see any dragon boat races this year, but one of the most important ways to celebrate is by making and eating zongzi, sticky rice and other fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves and then boiled or steamed. Here are photos of the zongzi that I made (well, okay, boiled). Untying them felt like unwrapping a precious gift, I couldn’t wait to try the treat inside!