Archive for the ‘Dragon Boat Festival’ Category

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Dragon Boat Festival Exhibition

In Dragon Boat Festival,Hong Kong,Museums on June 9, 2011 by triotriotrio Tagged: , ,

Dragon Boat Exhibition at the Maritime Museum

Monday is an official holiday in Hong Kong for the observance of the Tuen Ng Jit Festival. Two events associated with the holiday are preparing and eating zongzi, and racing dragon boats. Zongzi are a type of rice dumpling sometimes known as Chinese Tamales. And dragon boats are long slender paddle powered boats like a canoe.

The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is currently hosting a temporary exhibition in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Here are three highlights of the exhibition:

Ming Dynasty Dragon Head

On display is a dragonhead figure that dates to the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). One of the remarkable things of this piece, besides the age, is how detailed the carvings are. Many modern day heads have a generic shape and are composed of springs and cheap plastic bits. This piece is a work of art and would have been made at the hands of a master. Even though this piece was exposed to water conditions and unknown other elements for years it still contains its original hair pieces and remnants of its original lacquer paint.

Dragon Boat Dish

Also on display is a remarkable piece of porcelain which the includes images of dragon boats. But one of most interesting aspects of the plate is not what you can see but what you can’t see. On the back of this particular plate are a set of five Chinese characters that depict what is known as the five poisons. The five poisons refer to the snake, centipede, lizard, toad and scorpion. Placing these characters on pieces like pottery were thought to held ward off the poisons on the day of the Tuen Ng Jit Festival, the day where poisons had their most power.

Lastly the exhibition highlights the story of Qu Yuan (c. 340 BCE – 278 BCE). Many of the events connected to the festival are connected this famous poet and politician.  Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the same day as the annual observance of the Tuen Ng Festival. It is said that the local people, who admired him, threw lumps of rice into the river to feed the fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan’s body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi. The local people were also said to have paddled out on boats, either to scare the fish away or to retrieve his body. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.

Qu Yuan

Although it is clear that Qu Yuan’s did not create the festival – his life and death are today intertwined into the traditions of today.

The exhibition will be up to the end of August. The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is located in Stanley at the historic Murray House. The museum is open every day except for Monday.

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Dragon Boat Races My Heart

In Dragon Boat Festival,Hong Kong on June 7, 2011 by triotriotrio Tagged: , ,

The Pink Wigs are in the Forefront

Monday is an official holiday in Hong Kong for the observance of the Tuen Ng Jit Festival. Two events associated with the holiday are preparing and eating zongzi, and racing dragon boats. Zongzi are a type of rice dumpling sometimes known as Chinese Tamales. And dragon boats are long slender paddle powered boats like a canoe. We were excited to participate in our first Festival and planned several activities over the long weekend.

There are Dragon Boat Races that are held throughout Hong Kong but perhaps the best-known one is the one held at Stanley Beach. Jennifer’s firm supported the festival by fielding a team to compete in the competition. They also sent the company’s junk out to the festivities so it could serve as the team’s base and place for refreshment. We were fortunate that there was enough room on the boat for Jennifer and me to join them. The day was a little overwhelming: thousands of spectators, hundreds of teams participating and searing heat but I will do my best to sum up three of my favorite aspects.

Team Panda

Costumes – there are some international teams that come to the competition with their game faces on. But a majority of the teams are there in the spirit of friendly competition. Some of the teams dress up in a common theme that helps to elevate some of the competitiveness. By far my favorite team, besides Jennifer’s firm, was Team Panda. I especially liked that they wore the heavy costumes in the heat. My hat goes off to them. Other well rounded teams including the Pink Wigs, Big Sunglasses,  Black Laced Tutus, and Pirates.

Lunch on the Boat – I have discovered that food is an important part of the Chinese culture. And I fully support Chinese culture in any way I can. The skipper of the junk put out a spread that will not be forgotten. There were roasted sweet potatoes and corn. There was a wide variety of grilled seafood including a great shrimp and garlic dish that was to die for. There were also grilled chicken wings and chicken satay. I would have come only for lunch but instead I also got to see a spectacular sporting event.

Shuttle from Shore to the Boats

Shuttle Service – One of the best aspects of the races was that one could view the races on the water. There was a sophisticated shuttle service that took people back and forth from the mainland to the parked boats. It was a completely different feeling to be able to see the races along side of the competition opposed to looking from the shore.

What a great day. My only complaint was the heat. I must have drunk two gallons of water. But fortunately there was a nice canopy that shielded watchers from direct sun. My only fear is that this heat is a sign of things to come.

Team Warming Up

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Dumpling Wrapping Party

In Dragon Boat Festival,Food,Hong Kong on June 5, 2011 by triotriotrio Tagged: , , ,

Dumpling Wrapping Team 2011

Monday is an official holiday in Hong Kong for the observance of the Tuen Ng Jit Festival. Two events associated with the holiday are preparing and eating zongzi, and racing dragon boats. Zongzi are a type of rice dumpling sometimes known as Chinese Tamales. And dragon boats are long slender paddle powered boats like a canoe. We were excited to participate in our first Festival and planned several activities over the long weekend.

We were excited to be invited on Saturday to the home of one of Jennifer’s colleagues to participate in a Dumpling Making Party!

First – our host had prepared a beautiful table with all the dumpling fillings. This type of dumpling is best known because of it glutinous rice filling. But there are other key ingredients including split peas, shrimp, pork, salted duck yolks, lotus bulbs and chestnuts.

Shrimp, Pork, Lotus Bulbs, Spilt Peas, Salted Duck Yolks, Rice

Second – All these filings are scooped into inter-folding bamboo leaves. The process of folding the leaves is part geometry, part paper folder and all skill. The dumpling tutor’s hands worked so quickly it was hard to know how they could assemble so many so quickly.

JQ Displays Proper Dumpling Form

Lastly – the pyramid shaped dumplings are tied up and put to the side.

Pile of Finished Dumplings

The process of cooking the dumplings is simple. They are steamed or boiled for a period of three hours.

All of the participates were sent home with dumplings as we are settling in Sunday evening we have them on the kettle ready to eat.

We have been so grateful to be invited into people’s homes to learn more about local traditions. It is especially nice when one gets to eat the local tradition. Ho me do! (It was delicious.)

Cross Section of Dumpling

Cooked Dumpling