Foreigners celebrated Dragon Boat Festival in Yunnan

[InKunming--Kunming] With the Dragon Boat Festival, known as “端午” in Chinese, around the corner,Kunming Information Hub organized “Zongzi Making Activity” under the framework of “Unveiling Yunnan” on June 1. 11 foreigners from the United States and Pakistan gathered together at Xiao Wuliang (小无量) Restaurant, learning to make zongzi and knowing deep about Chinese culture.

As one of the oldest and grandest traditional festivals in China, Dragon Boat Festival has many customs and traditions, and eating zongzi, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, is usually the most popular activity. 

This event is sponsored by Kunming Information Hub and co-sponsored by Kunming Institute of Literature and Art and the Xiao Wuliang Restaurant. All the people spent great time in the activity.  

Purchasing ingredients at food market 


The picture shows that Tom and Mr. Zhang were purchasing ingredients. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

The prosperity of the shopping mall is all the same. In order to experience how Kunming people live, Tom from Pakistan followed Mr. Zhang walked into Zhuanxin Food Market in the morning to buy some ingredients of zongzi making.

As Dragon Boat Festival draws near, the market is filled with the fragrance of zongzi. Mr. Zhang told Tom that they were supposed to buy leaves in natural green color with some light fragrance. It is easier to warp zongzi with wide leaves instead of narrow ones.

Tom picked up a bundle of leaves and sniffed them under the guidance of Mr. Zhang. “It really has a light smell.” He said. After one-hour food purchasing, Tom got the skills of buying glutinous rice and brown sugar and knew that sweet zongzi can be wrapped with glutinous rice, brown sugar and Chinese dates.

“I haven’t came to a market like this before, so big and busy. You can buy all kinds of food there.” Tom introduced that it was an unforgettable and interesting experience.

Washing leaves and chopping ham up


Pictures shows that two girls were washing leaves. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

When brought fresh ingredients back to the restaurant, all the foreigners worked together to do the preparations, such as chopping ham up, washing leaves and soaking glutinous rice.


The picture shows that they were chopping ham and brown sugar up. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

"I like cooking very much, but when I was studying in the United States, I didn't have a kitchen so that I never had a chance to cook well." Blaufox Claire chopping ham well and sometimes instructed others to hold a knife in a professional way. On the other side, Tom intimated the cook and chopped brown sugar. The other were washing leaves together.

Wrapping Zongzi and having fun


Picture shows that foreigners tried to warp zongzi. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

When all the ingredients were ready, foreign friends couldn't wait to start their first journey of wrapping zongzi.

Picked up a green leaf and fold it into a “funnel”, ladled a spoonful of glutinous rice into the “funnel”, added a Chinese date or some peanuts, then tied it up with colorful cotton thread. Tom finished his first zongzi by himself. 


The picture shows that foreigners were happy with making zongzi. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

Blaufox Claire’s mother, who likes watching Chinese cooking videos on YouTube, said that it was difficult to make a zongzi. With the help of cook in the restaurant, she wrapped many zongzi well. She said, “It's not as difficult as my mother said.”

"It's really cool!"Subiono Jared pointed out that wrapping zongzi was pretty interesting although the leaf was easy to broke. He was also very happy to be able to wrap both sweet and salty zongzi at the same time.


Picture shows that they were happy with cooked zongzi. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

After 40-minute boiling, zongzi were cooked well. Foreigners couldn’t wait to take a bite. 

Sandoval Jazmin and Tom preferred sweet zongzi. “So delicious!” she ate several zongzi. Some of them have tried zongzi before while others ate zongzi for the first time. They liked sweet zongzi with brown sugar, peanuts and Chinese dates.

Playing dragon boat jigsaw puzzles  


Picture shows that they were trying to complete the dragon boat Jigsaw puzzle. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

Just like eating zongzi, dragon boat race is also a traditional custom of Duanwu Festival. Hence, the organizer launched a dragon boat jigsaw puzzle game.

When hostess announced “start”, three groups of foreigners worked against the clock. They cooperated with each other. Sometimes they just complained that is was too hard.

When time went by, they almost completed the jigsaw. In a group, they put Chinese characters “一帆风顺” upside down. Although there was something unperfect, they enjoyed a great time.


Picture shows a dragon boat jigsaw model already done. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

Tom will introduce Duanwu Festival to his Facebook friends

"Hope to participate in the next event..." Tom, who had participated in “Unveiling Yunnan” the second time, said. He hasn’t celebrated Dragon Boat Festival or eaten zongzi during his two-year life in Kunming. He merely knew that people do dragon boat race during the festival.

Speaking of the Dragon Boat Festival custom, Tom said,” I ate a kind of food which was similar with zongzi at a Thai restaurant so that I took it for granted that zongzi is a Thai food.” However, he knew the origin of Duanwu Festival and all the customs during the activity. Moreover, he appreciated the warm feeling of people wrapping zongzi together. Later, he would like to introduce Duanwu Festival to friends on Facebook. In this way can more overseas people know about China and its culture.


Picture shows the winners of the dragon boat jigsaw puzzle game got magzines as prize. [InKunming/Gan Lingfei]

"This activity combines the local cultural characteristics and international exchanges, sowing the seeds of art. It not only makes foreigners know more about Chinese culture, but also promotes the exchange of art.” Yao Xiaoyi, vice chairman of Kunming Federation of Literary and Art Circles, introduced that they have always attached importance to cultural exchange events. Kunming Institute of Literature and Art has held “Literature and Art Entering Campus”activity since 2017, aiming at promoting cultural exchanges between Yunnan and the outside, and helping to build a regional international central city.

During the activity, Yi people working in Xiaowuliang Restaurant performed "jumping dishes". They served dished in a unique jumping way, surprising all the foreigners.

Click here to view Chinese report 

(Editors: Rachel, Christine)

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