Mystic Tribute to Qu Yuan

In the ancient tale, on the fifth day of the fifth month, Qu Yuan chose to end his life by throwing himself into the Mi Luo River. The people of Chu mourned his tragic fate and devised a unique ritual in his honor. They used bamboo tubes filled with rice, casting them into the water as an offering. Centuries later, during the Han Dynasty’s Jianwu era, a scholar named Qu Hu appeared in the Qu region of Changsha. Claiming to be the “Sanlü Grand Master,” he advised the locals, saying, “I heard you are about to make an offering. It is commendable. I have long been stolen by aquatic dragons. Now, if you wish to extend a benevolence, seal the bamboo leaves with Nian leaves and entwine them with colorful threads. These two items are feared by aquatic dragons.” Following his advice, the locals continue the tradition to this day. On the fifth day of the fifth month, they craft zongzi, incorporating Nian leaves and colorful threads—a practice that endures as a testament to their homage.

Original story in 《齊諧記》

屈原五月五曰投汨羅水,楚人哀之,至此曰,以竹筒子貯米投水以祭之。漢建武中,長沙區曲忽見一士人,自云「三閭大夫」,謂曲曰:「聞君當見祭,甚善。常年為蛟龍所竊,今若有惠,當以楝葉塞其上,以彩絲纏之。此二物,蛟龍所憚。」曲依其言。今五月五曰作粽,并帶楝葉、五花絲,遺風也。

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