China: Old festival, new name

Known in the West mainly for its colorful dragon boat races, yesterday's Duan Wu (端午) Festival has its origins with Qu Yuan (屈原), a renowned and respected corruption-fighting poet whose political passion, many claim, was equalled only by his homosexuality. As the story goes, his unrequited love for the king, combined with frustration over entrenched graft led Qu to throw himself into the Miluo river.

The locals then jumped into their boats and raced to the spot, throwing leave-wrapped bundles of steamed rice and meat into the river to stop the fish from feasting on his corpse. Today, while dragonboat races take place on the fifth day of the fifth month of every lunar year all over the world, in China the festival—vaguely bearing both anti-corruption and queer identity [zh] implications aside—bears little connection to its traditional roots.

Thus says Sina blogger Zhang Chi (张弛), who argues the festival, like several of its counterparts, should be renamed to reflect its current condition: a chance to eat zongzi, or sticky rice dumplings.

Zongzi: Sticky Rice Dumpling


粽子节

Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival

很多人都反对把端午节说成粽子节,仿佛这一天只剩下吃粽子这件事。基于同样的理由,他们也不同意把中秋节叫成月饼节。好像中国人说来说去就知道吃。但我不这么看,既然有元宵节,粽子和月饼为什么不能有自己的节日。

A lot of people are opposed to the idea of changing the name of Dragonboat Festival to Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival, as if eating sticky rice dumplings were the only thing still done on this day. For the same reason, they also don't agree to changing the name of Mid-Autumn Festival to Mooncake Festival. If anything, Chinese say again and again, they know how to eat. But as I see it, seeing as there is the Lantern Festival, why can't sticky rice dumplings and mooncakes have their own festival?

关于粽子节,最近又听到新的说法,不是关于粽子,而是关于屈原的。大意是说他是个同志,曾经跟楚王有纠缠不清的关系。后来楚王烦了,屈原才投江自尽。而他的那些牢骚,那些诉求,包括路漫漫其修远兮,吾将上下而求索的著名诗句,都是十分绝望的表达。

Speaking of the Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival, I've recently heard a new term, and it has nothing to do with dumplings, but about Qu Yuan. That he's queer, and once had a dubious relationship with King Chu. Later, Chu got upset, and Qu committed suicide by jumping into a river. And those complaints of his, those demands, including lines from famous poems like ‘the road ahead is distant and long, but nothing will stop me as I go everywhere seeking the sun in my heart,’ all express severe despair.

我对粽子一般,几年前一度爱吃永和豆浆的粽王。里面有肉还有整栗子。跟我口味相仿的大有人在,所以粽子节这天基本吃不上,想吃必须提前订。现在白给我吃我都得考虑考虑。因为它实在太大了,吃一个保证三天吃不下饭。我也不喜欢楚辞,觉得它太过狞厉,装神弄鬼的,一点儿都不好玩儿,跟我的审美理想相距甚远。但我不反对把粽子节当成同志节,也就是说,只有同志们才在这天吃粽子。这才是对屈原他老人家最好的纪念。
前段时间听说有关部门要把粽子节连同其它传统节日向联合国申报非物质文化遗产,不知道是想表明这些节日快完蛋了,还是想跟世界接轨。真的,正因为我弄不清有些人脑子里整天是怎么想的,才觉得他们什么邪乎事都干得出来。

I'm indifferent to sticky rice dumplings. A few years ago I used to love eating Yonghe soymilk sticky rice dumplings. Inside would be meat and whole chestnuts. Plenty of people share my taste; that's why during Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival I can never get any. If you want to eat some you have to order them beforehand. Now if you were to offer me some to eat, I'd have to think about it, because they really are too big. Eat one and I guarantee you won't want to eat rice again for at least three days. I also don't like the Songs of the South; I think they're too extreme and severe, misleading. Not fun at all. Quite removed from my idea of aesthetic. This is the best sort of commemoration of Qu Yuan. A while back I heard that the relevant departments want the United Nations to declare the Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival—along with other traditional festivals—a part of cultural heritage. I don't know if they're trying to indicate that these festivals are doomed, or if this goes to keep up with the rest of the world. Really, it's because I can't figure out what some people must be thinking that I feel they are capable of even the strangest things.

Comments:

今天就不吃粽子
学校卖的实在是不能吃
看您老这么一说俺不是同性恋所以更不吃了

Today I'm not going to eat sticky rice dumplings
The ones sold at my school are inedible anyway
Seeing as you put it like that, not being a homosexual I'm definitely can't eat any

绿豆糕还是不错滴,偶们武汉这地儿有个曹祥泰的绿豆糕是相当的正宗.可惜您估计是没机会品尝了,我到是想寄,就怕到您手上都长毛了.

Green bean cakes are not bad. Here in Wuhan, Cao Xiangtai's green bean cakes are the convention. It's just too bad you say there's no way you'll give them a try. I'd like to send a few; I'm just afraid once you get them they'll go bad.

俺爱吃粽子,俺不是同志,俺抗议你这么说

I love sticky rice dumplings, but I'm not queer. I object to what you say.

粽子?同志?奇谈!

Sticky rice dumplings? Queers? Hogwash!

关于屈原对楚怀王的恋情,老驰你仔细读读楚辞,会发现屈大夫好像把国君当成一个美女呵护,与后世的君为臣纲有一点点不同。关于吃不动棕王的事,还得套句楚辞:”恐年岁之不我与”。

Regarding Qu Yuan's love for Chu, you best read carefully the Chu Ci, and you'll notice Doctor Qu treated the monarch like a damsel in distress, a little different from [the Confucian notion that] the ruler guides his subjects. As for not being able to eat sticky rice dumplings, I ought to quote the Chu Ci: “Fear aging, not I.”

胡说

Crazy talk

哈哈哈,很有同感啊,我也喜欢说粽子节.

Ha ha ha, I quite agree. I also like to call it the Sticky Rice Dumplings Festival

你还真的病得不轻。
我还龙舟节呢,真无趣

不是诗人,却经营着一家诗歌驿站
不是情人,却渴望着一句早安晚安
不是伟人,却瞻仰着一座烈士陵园
不是巨人,却俯瞰着一江春水东还

You're really sick.
I'll stick with Dragonboat Festival, so senseless.

Not a poet, but running a poetic relay station
Not a lover, but yearning for a good morning, good night
Not a great man, but revering a martyr's tomb
Not a giant, but overlooking a East-running spring river


是人过的
不是棕子过的
棕子是被人吃的
照这么说
那么
春节还交子节呢

端五是个节气
用气候的节气
来做节日名字
这样例子很多
比如仲秋
清明

Festivals
Are spent by people
Not spent by sticky rice dumplings
Sticky rice dumplings are eaten by people
So they say
So
Will Spring Festival become Dumpling Festival?
Ha
Duan Wu is a solar calendar date
Uses a climate-based solar calendar date
As a festival's name
Many examples like this
Like Mid-Autumn
Qingming

千万不能叫粽子节,好像韩国要把端午节向联合国申报非物质文化遗产.理由是中国人不重视.
我们经常谴责日本人窜改历史,却忽视了自己并没有重视历史,重视英雄和伟人,中华民族几千年来似乎早习惯了中庸,中国人也太容易满足,太容易遗忘了,忘记悲剧,忘记耻辱,哀~~~~~~~~

It could never be called Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival, just like the Koreans want the United Nations to declare the Dragonboat Festival a part of cultural heritage because the Chinese don't pay it much attention.
We often accuse Japanese of tampering with history, but neglect our own history, pay more attention to English heroes. It's like the Chinese people have over thousands of years become accustomed to mediocrity. Chinese are too easily satisfied, too easy to remain oblivious, forget tragedies, forget humiliation. Pity………

叫粽子节是比较符合现实情况的,不管你我想不想承认

Calling it Sticky Rice Dumpling Festival would be more reflective of reality, regardless of whether you or I admit it

那过年不成饺子节了.

Then wouldn't Spring Festival then become Dumpling Festival?

你病了,
吃个粽子吧。

You've lost it,
Eat another sticky rice dumpling!

3 comments

  • The one can't tolerant

    What’s your problem?
    Taking such a great poet to be a gay?!!

    damnshit

    Who is the author, would you please stop saying those stupid things cuz you don’t even know what is the true history…
    and don’t play to the gallery any more.cuz it sound RIDICULOUS。

  • another one who can't tolerant:

    Qu Yuan compared Chu to a beauty, which didn’t mean that he is a homosexual. On the contrary,it’s a kind of praise.

  • another one who can't tolerant:

    屈原《楚辞》中的香草美人只是一种比喻,用来喻示美好的品行。屈原就常常把自己比作香草啊。

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