The Dragon Boat Festival and Sticky Rice Dumplings

Lizzy Miles from Death Cafe Columbus and Megan Mooney from Death Cafe St. Joe recently visited Hong Kong to take part in the International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society presenting on Death Cafe. This coincided with the first ever Death Cafe in Hong Kong hosted by Ms. Pearl Tse, Ms. Carmen Yau, & Dr. Andy Ho.

You can read more it here >>

The Dragon Boat Festival is called Duan Wu Jie in Chinese. Jie means festival. The festival is celebrated on the 5th of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The dragon is an ancient Chinese symbol of auspicious power. Just like at a Death Café and other great events, there is also food involved. Here there are sticky rice dumplings or zongzi. The Dragon Boat Festival is a time honored festival that is held in Hong Kong. “The story best known in modern China holds that the festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty. A cadet member 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 and even accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body. This is said to have been the origin of dragon boat races. When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi.”

We got to see firsthand the Dragon Boat Festival and the sticky rice! It was very cool to see this and to learn about it from a couple of our Thanatologist friends that were with us. I’ve attached a picture and if you would like to read more on this, please click on this link:




What a great history story about a community of people who come together to memorialize someone so significant in their lives. I really like the story and the way he is honored through the symbolism of the reenactment. We can learn so much about our own efforts to remember the significant people in our lives who have died and how we can honor their legacy. Thank you for sharing!

Posted by Bill