The Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival is back again this coming weekend from August 14-16, 2015. This summer has just gone by fast with so many events going on. With new attractions at the Chinese garden in Louise McKinney Riverfront Park, and the coming demolition of the footbridge to make way for the Valley Line LRT, there’s no better time to make new memories during this timeless Chinese tradition.
History of Chinese Dragon Boat Festival with Zhong Zi
The folklore is that an innocent citizen was sentenced to death in the ocean. To prevent fish from eating his remains, the people dropped rice dumplings (zhong zi) made with sticky rice, pork, and green beans into the ocean and using dragon boats to scare them off. One could say they can be described as sticky rice tamales. Other variations of the sticky rice dumplings include serving it with sugar, soy sauce, red beans, peanuts, preserved duck egg yolk, shitake mushrooms, cured sausage, and chestnuts.
In China, an annual Dragon Boat Festival (also known as the Dumpling Festival) is held on the Fifth of May on the Lunar Calendar with food and boat races. Because of the sticky rice tamales and the Fifth of May, Yegventures likes to call it the Chinese Cinco De Mayo.
Past Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival
Since the 90s, races are now held internationally, including Edmonton which celebrates 19 years this year. For the 2013 season, due to high river levels from the Alberta floods, the event was relocated to Leduc. Don’t worry, this year is right on schedule and back to Edmonton’s favourite downtown view of the North Saskatchewan River at Louise McKinney Park. Here’s a video from the 2013 festival in Leduc.