Zhong zi


“We eat zhong zi (bamboo wrapped rice dumplings) with the rabbit jumping into the moon.

They were throwing young people into the river as human sacrifice, so a queen who thought it was inhumane, threw herself in instead, so people threw zhong zi into the river so the fish wouldn’t eat her body.

The moon goddesses took pity on her so they sent her into the heavens, where she worked with the mochi pounding moon bunnies.

It was called duan wu jie.

After that its counted as summer.  “



This story was passed down to my mother from her family.  Zhong zi is a traditional Chinese food made of sticky rice and different fillings, that is then wrapped with bamboo leaves.  They are traditionally eaten during Duanwu jie, also known as the Dragon boat festival.  This story that was told bears striking similarities to the legend of Duanwu jie.  The original story was about a highly esteemed poet who lived in the kingdom of Chu.  He was known for his patriotism and warned his king of a coming threat.  Because of jealous peers, he was slandered and his warning fell on deaf ears, resulting in the fall of his kingdom.  His grief ended with him throwing himself in the river.  Many people threw zhong zi into the river to also prevent his body from being eaten by fish.  The second part of the tale seems to have similarities to the Japanese and Korean mythology of rabbits that live on the moon who pound sticky rice cakes known as mochi.


Overall, this folk story seems like it was one that was passed down in specific local regions.  While it draws from the more popular existing mythologies, it has qualities unique to itself.     While some of these similarities may be from my mother combining the folk stories that she remembers, it shows the process in which folk stories evolve and change.