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Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival)


Do you know who"Qu Yuan" is & What "Zongzi" is? All these are related to the Dragon Boat Festival.

dragon boat

Do you know the origin of this festival? Ok , In this article you will find out more interesting information about it .

dragon boat festivalThe Dragon Boat Festival, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, has had a history of more than 2,000 years. It is usually in June in the Gregorian calendar.There are many legends about the evolution of the festival, the most popular of which is in commemoration of Qu Yuan (340-278 BC). Qu Yuan served as minister to the Zhou Emperor and one of China's earliest poets. A wise and articulate man, he was loved by the common people. He did much to fight against the rampant corruption that plagued the court-- thereby earning the envy and fear of other officials. Therefore, when he urged the emperor to avoid conflict with the Qin Kingdom, the officials pressured the Emperor to have him removed from service. In exile, he traveled, taught and wrote for several years. Hearing that the Zhou had been defeated by the Qin, he fell into despair and threw himself into the Milou River. His last poem reads:

Many a heavy sigh I have in my despair,
Grieving that I was born in such an unlucky time.
I yoked a team of jade dragons to a phoenix chariot,
And waited for the wind to come,
to sour up on my journey

In his exiled days, he still cared much for his country and people and composed immortal poems including Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Heavenly Questions) and Jiu Ge (Nine Songs), which had far-reaching influences. In 278 BC, he heard the news that Qin troops had finally conquered Chu's capital, so he finished his last piece Huai Sha (Embracing Sand) and plunged himself into the Miluo River, clasping his arms to a large stone. The day happened to be the 5th of the 5th month in the Chinese lunar calendar.

dragon boatAfter his death, the people of Chu crowded to the bank of the river to pay their respects to him. As he was so loved by the people, fishermen rushed out in long boats, beating drums to scare the fish away, and throwing ZongZi into the water to feed braver fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body.

The traditional food for the Dragon Boat Festival, Zong zi is a glutinous rice ball, with a filling, wrapped in corn leaves. The fillings can be egg, beans, dates, fruits, sweet potato, walnuts, mushrooms, meat, or a combination of them. They are generally steamed. An old doctor poured a jug of reaglar wine (Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar) into the water, hoping to turn all aquatic beasts drunk. That's why people later followed the customs such as dragon boat racing, eating zongzi and drinking realgar wine on that day.

The Modern Dragon Boat Festival Started from that time to this day, people commemorate Qu Yuan through Dragon Boat Races, eating zong zi, and several other activities, on the anniversary of his death: the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

Dragon Boat races are the most exciting part of the festival, drawing crowds of spectators. Dragon Boats are generally brightly painted and decorated canoes. Ranging anywhere from 40 to 100 feet in length, their heads are shaped like open-mouthed dragons, while the sterns end with a scaly tail. Depending on the length, up to 80 rowers can power the boat. A drummer and flag-catcher stand at the front of the boat. Before a dragon boat enters competition, it must be "brought to life" by painting the eyes in a sacred ceremony. Races can have any number of boats competing, with the winner being the first team to grab a flag at the end of the course. Annual races take place all over China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and other overseas Chinese communities.

Another aspect of the Double Fifth Day is the timing: at the beginning of summer, when diseases are likely to strike, people also wear talisman to fend off evil spirits. They may hang the picture of Zhong Kui, guardian against evil spirits, on the door of their homes, as well. Adults may drink Xiong Huang Wine, and children carry fragrant silk pouches, all of which can prevent evil. It is said that if you can balance a raw egg on its end at exactly noon on Double Fifth Day, the rest of the year will be lucky.

Dragon Boat Festival