Duan Wu Jie, which literally means Double Fifth Festival, is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month based on Chinese calendar. Duanwu is celebrated to commemorate the life of poet Qu Yuan, who was both a scholar and a public official born into the royal Chu clan. Qu Yuan (339BC-278BC) regarded as one of the greatest Chinese cultural icons that ever lived, he was the first author in China to have his name associated with his verse. Qu’s unique style of verse (sao), broke traditional four character verse by adopting verses or varying length. His works are known as the Chu-ci or Songs of the South.
Legend has it that Qu Yuan suffered with depression after being slandered by corrupt public officials and went into exile. Anxiety and depression coupled with the military capture of his country’s capital, caused Qu Yuan, to commit ritual suicide by holding a large rock and wading into the Miluo River in protest. According to folklore, people threw rice into the river to keep the fish and evil spirits away from Qu Yuan’s body. Qu Yuan’s spirit appeared to his friends and asked them to wrap the rice in silk packages to ward off the dragon.
These rice packages became the traditional food known as zongzi. During Duanwu, people will prepare and eat rice dumpling (zongzi) made of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. It is often stuffed with meat and vegetable fillings.
Duanwu is also often called Dragon Boat Festival since Chinese communities in many countries hold Dragon Boat races in spirit of Duanwu celebration.
The World Peace and Health Organization would like to invite the public to a Duanwu Festival on Saturday, June 23, 2012, at 10:00am. The free Festival and Open House is being held at 10 Leonard Street in Amsterdam, New York. The WPHO celebration of Duanwu will include a Chinese cultural exchange of song and dance as well as the traditional zongzi.
The building at 10 Leonard Street is a 44, 527 square foot, former home of Breton Industries. The WPHO envision it as a place for cultural exchange and worship. This building along with every other property purchased by the WPHO in the City of Amsterdam had all the copper stripped from it. That did not alter the mission of the WPHO to continue moving forward with their goal of making Amsterdam a city of peace and health. They have been dutifully working on this property along with others to realize their mission.
This week the WPHO has concentrated their efforts on 10 Leonard Street to hold their first public festival there. Like a well oiled machine they work together cutting about an acre of weeds from the yard and building performance platforms on the second floor. They tell me I won’t recognize the place when finished and decorated for the festival.
Please join the members of the WPHO for this Chinese cultural event! It is free of charge and a great opportunity to meet the members of the WPHO, learn about Chinese culture or just see the factory building and discuss plans for its future use.