Chinese companies in China took a day off last Monday (June 6, 2011) to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival.
According to Wikipedia:
The best-known traditional story holds that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan. A descendant of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance. Qu Yuan was accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry, for which he is now remembered. Twenty-eight years later, Qin conquered the capital of Chu. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
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.
Our company has given each and one of us zongzi, a traditional Chinese food made with glutinous rice with different filling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.
As I come from the South of China, we usually have machang, where instead of mostly sweet fillings, we have meat inside the zongzi. We also call it suman in Philippines.
Photo from Wikipedia.
Check out more Dragon Boat Festival in Beijing photos from flickr.