Zong Zi and Loong Boat


The most representative eating custom of Loong Boat Festival is eating zongzi. Zongzi became popular as early as the 2nd century AD. At first, rice was cooked in a new bamboo tube to make zongzi. Later, neem leaves, wild reed leaves, bamboo leaves and reed leaves were used to wrap rice into the shape of a sharp angle heart, and cooked before eating. This custom was introduced into the Yangtze River and Hanshui River basins, combined with the custom of throwing zongzi into the river to sacrifice Qu Yuan at the Loong Boat Festival, and spread as festival food. Since Tang and Song Dynasty, zongzi has become the most popular festival food and gift in the country. Not only every family makes zongzi, but also the market sells all kinds of rice zongzi. Emperor of Tang Ming also chanted poems praising zongzi for this. During the festival, rice dumplings are used for worshiping gods, Buddhas and ancestors. Since more than 1700 years ago, there have been many kinds of zongzi. With the migration of Chinese people to all parts of the world, zongzi has also been brought to all parts of the world as a delicacy of Chinese food and a treasure of fast food. Zongzi has long been out of the shackles of the ancient culture of sacrificing Qu Yuan, and has become a popular traditional food in the world.

As a festival food, the original meaning of zongzi is not the need of sacrifice, but mainly the need of festivals. On the fifth day of may in the lunar calendar, it is mostly the solar terms around the summer solstice, which happens to be the midsummer when the cold finally disappears and the heat reaches saturation, and the Yin and Yang reach a state of mutual threat and even harmony. At this time of the year is the most moderate season, so the ancient loong boat festival is also known as Tianzhong Festival. In this festival, you can eat cold food made of sticky rice, wrapped with wild rice leaves, reed leaves and bamboo leaves, cooked in water and then cooled in the air. The color, fragrance and taste are unique. You can experience the flavor of Yin-Yang combination from zongzi. Otherwise, why don't people make glutinous rice as usual, which is time-saving and time-consuming, instead of making all kinds of zongzi? Judging from this ancient traditional feature, the invention and creation of zongzi and the custom of eating zongzi have a long history, but there are some scientific reasons to adapt to the natural ecological environment and choose the corresponding lifestyle. In compendium of Materia Medica, Li Shizhen introduced zongzi as a kind of food. It can be seen that as a festival delicacy, there is a considerable health value of medicinal diet food.

Loong Boat Race and horse riding competition loong boat race are recorded to summon souls for Qu Yuan. They are only limited local activities and have certain characteristics in Chu area, but they are not multi-ethnic and national activities. Because in Wuyue area, loong boat race is only for sacrifice Wu Zixu or Cao E. Even in the Chu area, the boat race has been in preparation for the boat race since the eighth day of April. It is far more solemn and busy than sacrificial rites. In Sui Shu, it is recorded that the race to sacrifice Qu Yuan was held on the 15th of May, which has nothing to do with the Loong Boat Festival.


There has never been a race custom of Loong Boat Festival in northern China, let alone Qu Yuan, a great patriotic poet of Han nationality in southern China. Therefore, there has never been a consciousness and belief of sacrificing the river to Qu Yuan in the Chu area of the south of the Yangtze River. However, in the history of Liao, Jin and Qing Dynasties, there are the Qidan nationality, Nuzhen nationality and the later eight banners, which are the sports customs of shooting willows and playing polo.

Horse riding-willow shooting are held in the early morning of the Loong Boat Festival. First, set up small willows in the school yard, and cut a section of green skin from the middle and upper part of the willow trunk to make it white as a target. Then the contestants galloped the horse to pick up the bow and use the arrow to cut the white spot. The winning place of the competition is: the winner is the one who breaks the willow after shooting the dried willow, the winner is the one who catches the broken willow in the hand, the winner is the one who breaks the willow but can't catch the willow in the hand, the winner is the one who shoots the non white part, or the one who cuts the white part but doesn't break the willow is the same as the one who doesn't shoot. This kind of festival competition is actually a kind of very good military technology training, and we can learn from each other until the end of the Qing Dynasty. As for the horseback shot, the head of the stick is like a crescent moon. The soldiers fight for the shot in two teams, which is similar to modern polo.

Nowadays, the Loong Boat Race in the South has developed into an international event. With the demise of the feudal empire in the north, the horse riding sports, which originally belonged to the eight flag soldiers, were not introduced into the folk, and naturally disappeared. The ancient festival events have been lost, making the Loong Boat Festival in the North lack of the warm atmosphere. If we have the conditions to rescue, excavate and sort out, and combine the competitions of shooting willow and polo with the traditional riding and shooting folk customs of the northern nation, we may hope to become two large-scale festival sports activities of the northern Loong Boat Festival.

For many years, when newspapers and magazines introduced the origin of the Loong Boat Festival, they always said that it was a festival to commemorate Qu Yuan, the patriotic poet of Chu state. It was necessary to overemphasize the commemorative content of specific places and make full use of its political utilitarian purpose. As a result, for quite a long time, generations did not understand the true content of the Loong Boat Festival and the connotation of national epidemic prevention and fitness, Gradually lost the good traditional cultural memory, diluted and damaged a happy festival that the whole people shared to wish birthday and look forward to good luck. For a multi-ethnic festival like Loong Boat Festival, we should restore its original meaning of disaster prevention and disease elimination, health and longevity, and its original cultural form.