Zongzi (or zhongzi) are traditionally eaten during Dragon Boat Festival, which is held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, usually between late May to mid-June according to the Gregorian calendar, to honor Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet known for his patriotism. One legend says that after an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the kingdom in which he lived from being conquered, Yuan drowned himself, and people tossed zongzi into the river to prevent fish from eating the poet's body.
Zongzi are often called "Chinese tamales" because they are wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves and thus resemble Western tamales. Inside the zongzi is glutinous rice and a filling. While the preparation, filling, and even the way the zongzi is wrapped varies between regions and families, this article provides a general overview and some specific recipes so you can enjoy these delicious "tamales" ASAP!