Chinese American Dragon Boat Festival Meal

Text: A tradition, during the dragon boat festival the informants’ family will always make “zhong zi, it is bamboo leaves soaked in water then inside then you have sticky rice with soy sauce, there is also pork belly or red dates. And it is made by steaming them. In Asia they race dragon boats. His family does it every year. Even if his family is not home. He likes pork the most because it’s more savory. It can also be salted egg yolk in the middle. 

Context: The informant doesn’t know much more about the dragon boat festival, His family doesn’t watch it, he loosely knows what they look like but his family cares about the festival that much. To him it’s more about eating a specific food during a specific time of year. Both his parents were born in China but he was born here. 
Analysis: The informant’s family tradition of making “zhong zi” during the Dragon Boat Festival shows how folklore adapts to fit contemporary lifestyles, especially within diasporic communities. Despite limited engagement with the festival’s traditional activities like dragon boat racing, the annual preparation of zhong zi serves as a powerful cultural symbol, preserving their Chinese heritage. This practice highlights the role of food in maintaining ethnic identity and familial bonds, even when historical narratives are not fully embraced. It shows how traditions can persist through adaptable, personally meaningful elements, such as shared meals during cultural festivals.