British engineers learn how to make rice dumplings with police in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, on Wednesday. The police introduced the foreigners to customs of the Dragon Boat Festival before their return to the UK.
Pushing a shopping cart, Liu Yunfen's eyes make a sweep of the shelves in a Beijing branch of hypermarket chain Carrefour.
The 68-year-old is in search of the perfect zongzi - pyramidal stuffed dumplings made of glutinous rice and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.
It is a busy time for Liu. With just days to go before the traditional Chinese Dragon Boat festival, or the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, which falls on Sunday this year, she has been tasked with picking the festive treat for her family.
It is a difficult choice.
From stores to supermarkets, displays of zongzi in mind-boggling varieties and brands have mushroomed in recent weeks to entice shoppers, more so since the festival was designated a public holiday. Numerous restaurants have also added zongzi to their menus.
But Liu's shopping cart remained empty.
"The price is a bit higher than last year's," the seasoned shopper says.
"The zongzi I make at home is much cheaper and tastier," she adds.
Apart from the price, Liu says she is more concerned about her 6-year-old grandson and how he is unaware of the origin of eating zongzi - to commemorate Qu Yuan (c. 340 - 278 BC), a minister and patriot poet of the Chu kingdom during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) who drowned himself in a river to lament the downfall of his country.（By Yu Tianyu (China Daily)）