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China's Dragon Boat Festival Through the Eyes of Two Foreigners
Anita Jones, a 57-year-old American, has bought some wormwood and "zong zi" (a kind of glutinous rice wrapped with bamboo leaves) ahead of Wednesday's Dragon Boat Festival. |
On the morning of the festival, she will hang the wormwood on the door of her home to ward off bad luck before cooking "zong zi"and eggs for breakfast, as the Chinese do.
A teacher at the Hefei University of Technology, Jones also plans to invite her students to spend the festival with her, and to chat about its historical meaning.
She said, "China has many traditional festivals and I like to follow local customs -- when in Rome, do as the Romans do."
The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in China on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is celebrated in memory of outstanding patriotic poet Qu Yuan in the period of the Warring States (475-221 BC).
Jones said she was most impressed in the festival in 2004, whenshe taught in a middle school in Fushun, a city in northeast China's Liaoning Province.
She was invited to a student's home to spend the festival, wrapping "zong zi" with them. The student's mother told her childthe story about Qu Yuan.
"When I shared "zong zi" with the family, I was deeply moved," said Jones.
Iris Leung, a 23-year-old Canadian, works with a charity agency established by the United States in Beijing. As the Dragon Boat Festival is drawing near, she is looking forward to dragon boat races.
She said, "In my hometown where many Chinese live and traditional Chinese culture is influential, the Dragon Boat Festival is quite an event when dragon boat races are held."
"At the University of Toronto where I studied, we have several dragon boat teams, which compete with other teams in different Canadian cities and even internationally every year," she said.
"The Festival also provides a good chance for us to respect cultural diversity," Jones said.
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