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Culture clues -- What holiday is this?


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I did not recognize what was happening until I saw the spoiler image! 


of course I only ate my first 粽子 a couple days ago! :)


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17 hours ago, momowuwen said:

I did not recognize what was happening until I saw the spoiler image! 


That's right, @momowuwen -- If you didn't recognize them at first, don't feel bad. For many years I thought they must just be for culinary use; I thought they must just be ingredients for making zongzi 粽子。


These auspicious door hangings belong very much to this holiday. 挂艾草与菖蒲。 I live in an older, traditional neighborhood where such observances are the rule, rather than the exception. Most (or at least some) of the doors in my old apartment building will have them up sometime tomorrow. 



door2.thumb.PNG.ab60fb1894a3a0f06aca343e3dae3b45.PNG      524539659_dragon60-70last.png.d872df446b702ac85bfafb82395aa1e7.png


(...these two are not my photos)


Everybody knows about the boat races 赛龙舟 and the tasty triangular sticky rice dumplings, zongzi 粽子, but  not everyone appreciates the versatility of these big leafy plants. They are 艾草叶 aicao ye and 菖蒲 chang pu, usually translated as mugwort and calamus or sweet flag. These both are alleged to be functional in repelling insects, in addition to their "ceremonial" benefits.


You may recognize mugwort 艾草 as the main ingredient in the thick sticks which are burned over acupuncture points 穴位 in TCM during moxabustion treatments 温灸。I live a couple doors down from a TCM clinic, and as I walk by in the morning I always get a strong whiff of it. It's a distinctive smell I will probably always associate with 老昆明 Old Kunming. 

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Culture insider: 7 things to know and do during Dragon Boat Festival

Updated: 2014-05-30 07:10(chinadaily.com.cn)


 Hanging auspicious leaves

The fifth lunar month is marked as a "poisonous" month in the Chinese farmer's calendar. This is because insects and pests are active during this summer month and people are more prone to catch infectious diseases.

During Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese put mugwort leaves and calamus on the doors or windows to repel insects, flies, fleas and moths from the house. Those leaves have curative properties and can prevent an epidemic.

















(...not my photo.)

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