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PENANG HERITAGE AND CULTURE - Dumpling Festival

PENANG RICE DUMPLING FESTIVAL  -  ' Duan Wu Jie '

Rice Dumpling Festival In Penang RICE dumpling festival or better known as 'Duan Wu Jie' is an occasion for joyous celebration for the Chinese community, especially within the heritage city Georgetown. Traditionally family members from far and near. will come home during the festive day for a home reunion to taste the 'bak chang' together. The yearly dumpling festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar calendar month. 'Bak Chang' is the hokkien dialect for rice dumplings.

 
The festival is celebrated to commemorate the Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself to protest against the corrupt practices in ancient China over 1,000 years ago. As the legendary poet was highly respected and loved by all the Chinese people, the villagers started wrapping glutinous rice dumplings in lotus leaves in an attempt to prevent the fishes from eating the remains of his body. They rowed the boats vigorously and threw dumplings to feed the fishes in the river. Hence, the two festivals of Dumplings and Dragon Boat are associated to the same festive celebration.

 



Every year during the Dumpling Festival, rice dumpling tasting is held at the Penang Chinese Town Hall. The cultural event is organised to promote closer relationship among the various chinese dialect groups. Each dialect group promotes their best traditional recipes and unique dumplings with special fillings, in different sizes and shapes. The sampling productions come from the major ethnic Chinese dialect groups, namely the Cantonese, Nyonya, Teochew, Hokkien and Hainan. Some visiting tourists who are on long holiday vacations in Penang, also took the opportunity to join in the tasting of dumplings when they heard about it.


There have been special considerations for other ethnic groups as dumplings of 'halal' (pork-free) and vegetarian recipes are specially prepared for those who are interested to join in the fun of the festive celebration.  It really promotes better understanding among different races, cultures and religions.  The living culture of Penang is really full of considerations for the neighbourhood and a very unique concept.
 

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