The zongzi or rice dumpling is a traditional Chinese food. The origins of rice dumplings are traced to the legend of Qu Yuan well-loved poet who drowned himself in a river. To stop the fish from eating his body, people made rice dumplings and threw them into the river. Another version of the legend states that the dumplings were made to placate a dragon that lived in the river.
Rice dumplings are made for the Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the third day of the third month of the Chinese calendar.
The fillings for the dumplings vary from region to region but the rice used is always sticky rice. Fillings may be sweet, such as mashed yellow beans, or savoury, and may include pork, Chinese mushrooms, salted egg, and chestnuts. Some types of zongzi contain no filling at all, in which case they are usually eaten with sugar or syrup.
The rice dumpling is usually a pyramid of rice which encloses the filling and wrapped in dried (or more rarely fresh) leaves. Dumpling-making is usually a family event with everyone helping out.
In 2005, the earliest zongzi ever found in China was discovered in a 700 years" old tomb in De"an County, Jiangxi Province.