As a boy to Chinese parents in Vancouver, I remembered looking forward to the middle of the calendar year, because there would be plenty of sticky-rice dumplings (粽), which CantoDict describes as a “glutinous-rice dumpling or tamale, made by wrapping the rice in broad leaves of reeds and boiled for a few hours, usually with other ingredients such as meat, oysters, beans, etc.”
A very popular Chinese holiday surrounds the Duanwu Festival, which occurs on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in the Chinese calendar; the big festival day occurs on 23 June and 12 June in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Along with the consumption of rice dumplings, the festival is known as the Dragon Boat Festival with the racing of dragon boats. Tradition tells the story of boats set out to retrieve the body of poet and scholar Qu Yuan who drowned himself (278 BCE) after false accusations of conspiracy forced him into exile.
On a June-weekend, thousands congregate to the south portion of Hong Kong Island, all there to attend the annual Dragon Boat Championships. On 23 June 2012, my sister and I head out to Stanley by friends’ invitation to witness the spectacle and party from the comfort of the Horwath HTL boat in Tai Tim Bay. This turns out to be a big bonus, as the weather in June is oppressively hot and sticky. Instead of being stuck in the midst of huge crowds on dry land, we find ourselves in the middle of the bay, surrounded by countless ships of all shapes and sizes in relatively calm conditions.