Wheat cake and Duanwu Festival in Wenling

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-01-29

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Wheat cake [Photo by Huang Xiaohui/wldaily.zjol.com.cn]

When asked for their thoughts about the Duanwu Festival, most Wenling natives will mention wheat cakes. It seems a consensus among the Wenling natives that eating wheat cakes is a must at the festival. Therefore, the Duanwu Festival in Wenling can also be called "wheat cake festival".

According to Festivals and Customs of Wenling County Annals (1992 edition), wheat cakes are eaten and realgar liquor is drunk in every household, while zongzi (rice dumpling wrapped in reed leaves) is eaten in a relatively few households for Duanwu Festival.

In the materials edited by the Wenling natives association in Taipei, the customs are described as follows: wheat cakes are eaten on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar year, with newly harvested wheat and in warm weather. Wheat cakes are the most suitable seasonal food, accompanied by realgar liquor to help the digestion. Therefore, they are eaten in every household and used for entertaining guests. As a result, the Duanwu Festival can also be called the wheat cake festival, especially as fewer people eat zongzi.

Zhao Limin, a famous doctor in modern Wenling, used to record the spectacular scene of every household making wheat cakes at the Duanwu Festival in his Ci (a type of classical Chinese poetry): "Duanwu Festival is coming again and the happy feelings are pervasive in every corner; the aroma permeates from wheat cakes on the stoves and the smoke rises above the kitchens." However, the scene is rarely seen now since portable liquid gas is widely used with many people buying their wheat cakes on the street.

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