Indonesian Dragon Boat Festival



The Dragon Boat Festival is one of many Chinese celebrations. This year, it was celebrated on June 22nd. Historically Dragon Boat Festival is called Duan Wu meaning the fifth day of the fifth month in the Lunar Calendar. The fifth lunar month is considered a bad month in Chinese traditions, so people would make certain rituals to ward off the negative energy.
Indonesia has the largest Chinese-descent population outside of China, so the Dragon Boat Festival is also celebrated there. The Indonesian Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated quite differently than in other countries, such as Singapore or Hong Kong. Originally, all Chinese celebrations and cultures were banned by the government, and it was only in the year 2000, that Indonesians of Chinese descent were allowed to perform and celebrate Chinese culture in public. So when Singapore has the actual dragon boat races to celebrate the dragon boat festival, Indonesia has Bakcang to celebrate.

A food very similar in shape to indian samosa or middle eastern sambosa

Bakcang is a staple food and is only easily accessible during the Dragon Boat Festival. It’s a pyramid-shaped steamed sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. It has five different ingredients to mark the fifth day of the fifth month. It consists of sticky rice, spiced meat (usually stewed spiced pork, but lately chicken is also acceptable), lotus seed, shitake mushroom, and salted egg yolk. Traditionally, each family will make their Bakcang together with family members since it will take a whole day to make them, from the preparations to the cooking time. Nowadays, people can just buy food from Chinese owned restaurants to eat, which is offered on altars for the ancestors during the Dragon Boat Festival.


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