Tag Archives: sticky rice



“This one is called Duanwu. It’s related to this actual poet that was in Chinese history. I don’t remember when was his time. I know his name is Qu Yuan. This poet was also like a sort of commander for an army or something. Either way, he is a very very loyal person, he was like very loyal to his country. And then I think one day, the empire believed some like bad people or whatever the empire did, the empire believed that he is about to betray the country. So they jailed him and then he ended up suiciding by jumping into a lake. And then from that time onward, every Duanwu people eat something called Zongzi. It tastes really good. It’s like this thing made of sticky rice and you have like either meat which or you have something that is like beans and is really sweet. And is called sweet Zongzi. It’s usually triangular and it has these bamboo leaves covering it and it has creams. But it tastes really good and if you see it in a market you should buy it. But yeah the point being that people will sometimes put like Zongzi they will throw it into the lake. The idea is that the fish will eat the Zongzi and not Qu Yuan’s body. But yeah it tastes good um something else that people do on this day is that there is usually like Yuan Xiao, its called translated into light festival. It’s all the fun stuff, it’s a kind of carnival thing. And people usually put Dēnglóng in the river. It’s like this light thing. Sometimes it’s like a paper boat with light. I don’t know they put it in the river with their best wishes. Yeah, but that part I haven’t personally experienced it, I’ve just read about it and my friends have gone.”

Context: The informant was born and grew up in China before moving to the United States to attend High School. The informant has not personally experienced Duanwu or Yuan Xiao, but has heard about them through family, friends, and by reading about it. The informant has eaten Zongzi, however not for a particular occasion.

Analysis: Duanwu is also known as the Dragon Boat Festival. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Duanwu serves as a way to celebrate the patriotism of the poet Qu Yuan. Eating culturally specific foods is a way to strengthen people’s national pride. The use of specific food such as Zongzi and the story of Qu Yuan work to create a sense of cultural pride and patriotism

Japanese New Year’s Eve Traditions

Informant Background: This individual was born and grew up in Hawaii. His family is of Japanese and Chinese descent. He speaks Japanese and English. His family still practice many Japanese traditions, also many Chinese traditions. They celebrate some of the Japanese holidays. Many of the folk-beliefs and superstitious are still practiced. His relatives who are Japanese lives in Hawaii as well. He currently lives in Los Angeles to attend college.


At New Year’s Eve, it is a Japanese tradition that you eat long strand of noodles which signifies a long and healthy life. Next, you have to eat the sticky rice, mochi, which represent how your family will stick together. Then, you go to the temple where you can make a wish and pick up different kinds of blessed paper which represents different things in your life such as: safe travel, good study, etc. You do these things with your family, relative, and close friends.

Though the informant’s family migrated to Hawaii two generations ago they still practice Japanese rituals and traditions during important holidays. It is not only important that these rituals have to be performed, but also importance that they are performed correctly to bring the individual a good coming next year.



I believe that almost everybody have some kind of New Year’s Even traditions depending on the culture. New Year’s Eve is also one of the main periods of liminality since it is the transition period of one of the longest life cycle measurement. The New Year also signifies the end of something as well as the beginning. This tradition shows how food and everyday activity is made special during the liminal period as a way to create foreshadow of events or even a positive self-fulfillment prophecy(making a wish at midnight, drinking champagne, etc).

According to the informant the food consumed during this time of year is made slightly different but from the same ingredients as the food eaten every day. The form of the food becomes metaphor to many valued aspect in that culture: long life and family ties. Similar to other culture holiday traditions, certain foods are exclusive to those events and those events only.

The blessed paper is to foresee and start the New Year with good luck and goals for the coming year. I’ve observed on my trip to Japan once that there are many type of these paper that one can purchased: good luck, good grades, good relationship, pass an exam, get into university, etc. This reflects the idea of a “life fulfillment prophecy” where the beliefs that you will get good luck can help bring you good luck.

In this Japanese tradition to do all the traditions is not only to foreshadow a good year but also foreshadow a good year with your family. The idea that these rituals are done with people close to you shows how the transition period is not only important to the individual, but the collective as well.

The performance of these traditions also shows how some individual is reinforcing his cultural identity from his geographical origin without being there.