Along with Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival is a significant holiday celebrated by the Chinese on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
Last Saturday, the Cerritos Chinese-American Senior Citizens Association (CCASCA) celebrated the holiday at the with a traditional luncheon, an arts exhibition and an afternoon of entertainment and honoring of good mothers and fathers.
The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in honor of the poet Qu Yuan. As an exiled advisor of the kingdom of Chu, he wrote many poems on his ideas and thoughts on the decline of the country which became very popular among the locals.
When Chu was eventually attacked, Yuan committed suicide by jumping in the river. It is said that people threw zong zis (a glutinous rice dumpling filled with meats and other condiments and wrapped in bamboo leaves) into the river, hoping the fish would eat them in place of his body.
Zong zis, which have become a staple of the festival, were served at the CCASCA luncheon, along with a variety of Chinese dishes.
An art exhibition was open to display original art by members, including calligraphy, oil paintings and ceramic. There was also an opportunity to watch and students do live demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy.
The main program of the afternoon was the honoring of “Good Mothers and Fathers,” where sons and daughters submitted an essay nominating their parents to be honored in this event.
“It’s a great opportunity to show our love to her,” said Jenny Meng, daughter of 96-year-old honoree Lin Lin Lai. “She’s a very loving person—she was a babysitter at an orphanage in China, so she’s full of love. Even in her old age, she continues to care for people and is a mother figure to many.”
Twelve senior mothers and fathers were honored at this special event and presented with certificates and flowers. The event wrapped up with a raffle drawing, where winners took home prizes including a TV, kitchen appliances and other household goods.
CCASCA was formed 20 years ago to serve the Chinese senior community, and currently has over 1,000 paid members. Every Tuesday members gather for choir practice and dance classes. For more information, contact Media Coordinator Cindy Yen Chen at (714)367-0866.