PENANG RICE DUMPLING
FESTIVAL - '
Wu Jie '
||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
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