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What is the Dragon Boat Festival and why is it celebrated?

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What is the Dragon Boat Festival and why is it celebrated?

2024-06-11

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in China and other East Asian countries. This festival is held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, usually in the sixth month of the Gregorian calendar. This festival has various customs and activities, the most famous of which is dragon boat racing.

The Dragon Boat Festival has a history of more than 2,000 years. It is generally believed that it originated from the commemoration of Qu Yuan, an ancient poet and minister during the Warring States Period in ancient China. Qu Yuan was a loyal and patriotic official who was exiled by the king he served. Desperate for the demise of his motherland, he committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The local people admired Qu Yuan so much that they took boats out to sea to rescue him, or at least recover his body. They also threw rice dumplings into the river to prevent fish from eating his body.

In order to commemorate Qu Yuan, the Dragon Boat Festival has become a day to commemorate Qu Yuan and a day to ward off evil and diseases. This festival is also a festival for people to pray for good health and ward off evil spirits. It is said that the tradition of dragon boat racing originated from the act of saving Qu Yuan or salvaging Qu Yuan’s body from the river.
People celebrate this festival with various customs and traditions. One of the most popular customs is making zongzi, a traditional Chinese food made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings such as pork, beans and salted egg yolk and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The shape of the rice dumplings is similar to the boats used in dragon boat races, symbolizing the rice dumplings thrown into the river to feed Qu Yuan to prevent the fish from eating his body.

Another important aspect of the festival is the dragon boat racing, where the rowing teams paddle in unison to the beat of drums. The boats are usually decorated with dragon heads and tails, and competitions are accompanied by loud cheers and rhythmic drumming. These competitions are not only a way to commemorate Qu Yuan, but also to promote teamwork, unity and perseverance.

In addition to these customs, the festival is also marked by the hanging of an icon of Zhong Kui, a mythical figure believed to ward off evil spirits, and the wearing of sachets of fragrant medicine believed to protect the wearer from disease.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a time-honored tradition with important cultural significance in Chinese and East Asian societies. It’s a time when people come together to remember the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future. The customs and activities of this festival not only pay tribute to revered historical figures but also promote unity, teamwork and the preservation of traditional values. As the holiday continues to be celebrated around the world, it reminds us of our enduring cultural heritage and the importance of preserving traditions and passing them on to future generations.

Our Dragon Boat Festival holiday is from June 8th to 10th, and we will be back to work on the 11th.