This is from the Foochow point of view, based on Sibu Foochow Customs.
1. Do not make zhong zi or changs and give them to any family. Only relatives and friends of a mourning family can can bring some when visiting them.
2. Every Foochow woman would tie 10 zhong zis in one DAI. Five salty straws or geng chow would be doubled and knotted at the middle to give ten strings. Pegged to a big nail , the zhong zi maker will start tying up the zhong zi, one by one. Once ten are done, she will start another set of 10.
3. This photo is from Fuzhou city, taken last year for tourism advert. A competition was held and these are probably the proud winners. It is common practice to have zhong zi wrapping competition as part of the Dragon Boat Festival Competition.
4. The festival is held on 5th day of 5th month of the lunar calendar. This will fall either at the end of the month of May of the beginning of June. Usually people will know that the festival is coming in other parts of the world, when Chinatown or Asian shops start selling bamboo leaves, chestnuts and geng chow or Chinese straws.
5. In MALAYSIA, zhong zi's are as different as there are Chinese dialects in terms of fillings and styles or shapes . The most remarkable zhong zis are those made by the Nyonyas, the descendants of Princess Han Li Po and the Malacca Sultan, and other Malay-Chinese marriages in the 1500 in Malacca.
6. Zhong zis are usually boiled in a big pot or in the past, when there were huge extended families, in recycled square oil tins. Very often in the backyard, early in the morning.
7. Traditionally Zhong zis were usually hang from a bamboo pole or string, in a room and they were to be eaten until they are finished. Different types of zhong zis were colour coded as you could not really tell from the smell. My grandmother made plain zhong zis without filling, red bean paste zhong zi, red bean zhong zi, peanut zhong zi, meat zhong zi, and mushroom + meat + peanut zhong zi.
8. The matriarch of the family will usually decide when to make the zhong zi.
9. In the past, zhong zi was made only for the festival. Today in SArawak, stores can sell zhong zi every day.
10. In the past only Foochow women made zhong zi. FAmilies with single fathers have to depend on in laws to send over zhong zis. But today many Foochow men can make zhong zis.
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