Saturday, June 20, 2015

6-20-15 Lugang Dragon Boat Races

Windmills in the area:
 Lots of street vendors selling all kinds of delectables:
 Everyone got their pick:
 Snails anyone?
 Beef bulgogi bake!
 Waiting for the races to start:
 Local high school and college teams competed in the afternoon:
 Down the stretch, first to grab the flag wins:
 Some races were not even close:
 Others were neck and neck. Both teams here have their hands on the flag at the same time!
The clock reveals the winner:
After each race, the boats returned along the banks to the start:
The Dragon Boat festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan (340–278 BC) under the reign of King Chu. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. Several decades later, in despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River. The local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him. This is said to have been the origin of dragon boat races. They beat drums to keep the fish and evil spirits away from his body, hence each dragon boat has a large drum and drummer. When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. This is also thought to be the origin of zongzi, a traditional Chinese tamale-like food made of glutinous (sticky) rice stuffed with savory meat or sweet bean paste, wrapped in leaves, and steamed or boiled:
Definitely a childhood favorite of mine were those filled with red bean paste that my grandmother taught me how to make! Here in Taiwan, I am so blessed to be able to pick up these treats on my exercise run through the morning markets:) If you've ever seen the movie "Ratatouille," you can understand how I delighted I feel when eating a zongzi!

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