It is a Chinese tradition to eat rice dumplings, or Zongzi, at the Dragon Boat Festival. However, the custom of eating rice dumplings is also observed in some other countries and regions around the world.
The rice dumplings in Vietnam are wrapped with banana leaves in round or square shape. In their opinion, the round rice dumplings represent the heaven, while the square ones stand for the earth, which together symbolize the unity of heaven and earth as well as great fortune and auspice. People make and eat rice dumplings at the Dragon Boat Festival to pray for seasonable weather, so as to receive a bumper grain harvest in the year.
Most of the rice dumplings made and eaten at Water-splashing Festival and in raining seasons are sweet. People would use banana leaves to wrap the sticky rice that has been soaked in coconut juice together with the coconut meat, black bean, taro and pachyrhizus. The steamed rice dumplings are light green in color with a faint scent.
In Japan, people would use the milled rice flour instead of the sticky rice to make the rice dumplings in a hammer shape which is different from that in China. The rice dumplings are called “ちまき(茅の叶で巻いたからいう)” in Japan, which is made by wrapping the rice flour with bamboo leaves or Zizania caduciflora leaves in a long cylinder shape on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the year.