Celebration: Cold Food Festival (China)
Mission: Eat some cold Chinese food
Notes: The Chinese Cold Food Festival remembers a story about Chong’er, who was the Duke Wen of Jin between 636-628 BC. Before Prince Chong’er came to power he spent a period of time in exile – his father’s concubine’s son was favoured over him as heir and this led to civil war – and one scorchingly hot day he was close to death from exhaustion & hunger, when his pal Jie Zhitui made him a meat soup which revived him. Surprised that there was enough meat for the soup, Chong’er was impressed & grateful (as opposed to sickened & horrified!) to discover that Jie Zhitui had cut the flesh from his own thigh.
Later, Chong’er reclaimed the rule of the state of Jin, and Jie Zhitui left his employ, choosing to retire from the political life and to live on a mountain with his mother. Chong’er wished his old friend would return to his court but as Jie refused he came up with a cunning plan:
Mission: Set fire to the mountain so that Jie would have no option but to return
Status: Failed – Jie Zhitui & his mother died in the fire.
Feeling somewhat stupid, Duke Wen of Jin banned the use fire for three consecutive days (5th-7th April in the Gregorian calendar) in memory of Jie Zhitui, and therefore all food had to be prepared without heat.
Meanwhile – 2,600 or so years later, my baby and I shared a Hoisin Duck wrap – No Mayo! – on a bus near Kings Cross Station.
There’s still two days of the festival to go – so why not enjoy some cold Chinese food yourself this weekend?