Every year on the 5th day of the fifth moon of the Chinese lunar calendar. This is the day which I am looking foward to every year..as I just simply love Bah Chang...especially when eaten hot with a smack of Maggi chilli sauce.....Some like it with soya sauce..some like it with sugar..some likes it ala naturel......but I like it with Maggi chilli sauce.
Every Chang Festival..it brings me back to my childhood memories...when my late grandmother is still around..we use to make this traditional delicacy..and me being the little devil at home would pester my grandma to let me make my own bah chang..which often ( everytime ) turns out to be a disaster !!!!
Enough of my childhoood memories...let me narate to you an interesting story of its origin......
The very patriotic poet and statesman QU Yuan ( 340 - 278BC ), from the ruling house of Chu, tried to warn the Emperor and fellow court members on the impending expansionism into the state by the Qins. His warnings were not heeded.........
In 278BC , the Qin dynsaty general Bai Qi invaded Chu kingdom capital of Yingdu, and the fall of the Chu Kingdom upset Qu Yuan terribly. So overcome by the grief ..the much respected jumped into the Milou and drowned ( in short suicide ). Qu yuan poetic thoughts are reflected in poems he penned on the affairs of the time, before he departed this life. On learning of his drowning, fisherman went out trying to fish out his body, but they found no trace of it ( piranha's in China too ?? )
According to the legend, rice dumplings were thrown into the river to lure the fish away from Qu Yuan's body while fisherman beat drums and gongs to protect the body from being eaten by the fish and demons of the murky waters.
Another version is that dumplings were thrown into the river that Qu Yuan soul would not go hungry in afterlife . Watever....most important is that I get my dumplings every year.
Most people are aware of the legend behind the Chang Festival but the dawn of the festival, does not automatically bring to mind Qu Yuan's patriotic act, it does however to mind the aromatic savoury and sticky rice delight.... but to me I'll remember you..coz without yuu..I wont have my fix of Bah Chang today !!!!!!