Friday, 20 June 2008

Trainers with a story

When I ordered my latest pair of Wovens, I knew that their colouring was tied in with the Chinese Duan Wu Jie festival, but today I learned the full backstory courtesy of Dr Beng.

When I showed him the insole, he said "Ah, Zongzi!" and then proceeded to tell me the tale. So, the story goes that the high born Qu Yuan, on being exiled from his homeland became a beloved and renouned poet.
Qu Yuan was so saddened by the demise of his country that he comitted suicide by tying a stone to his chest and throwing himself into the river. The local people loved and venerated Qu Yuan and to prevent the fishes from eating his body they threw rice wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river, hoping that the fish would eat the rice rather than Qu Yuan. Then, the sailed out in their Dragon Boats, banging the drum to scare the fish away as they retrieved his body.

To this day, the festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month by eating Zongzi, or sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. Zongzi typically come in plain, sweet (flavoured with lotus seed) and savoury (meat & veg).

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