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Chinese Festival

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival – the Date, Origins and Customs

Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu jie or Tuen Ng Festival, is an important traditional holiday in China. It emerged to commemorate Qu Yuan, a poet and politician of Warring States (340-278 BC) in ancient China and has been observed annually over 2,000 years. It mainly prevails in south China, such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian Provinces.

1. Date and Time

The date of Duanwu is the 5th day of the 5th month of Chinese lunar calendar. But the specific date on solar calendar varies every year.

Year Date Holiday Time
2016 9th June 9th June to 11th June
2017 30th May 28th May to 30th May
2018 18th June 16th June to 18th June

2. Origins and History

There are lots of legends about the Dragon Boat Festival, but the most approbatory origin is to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan in the Warring States Period. Qu Yuan is a brilliant politician of Chu state. As his political strategy was in breach of other noblemen and was expelled to a remote area. In 278 BC, Chu state was conquered by Qin state, and Qu Yuan was despairingly ended his life bu jumping into Miluo river. After knowing his death, the people of Chu state start to find his body and drop meat into the river so that his body won’t be bitten by fish. Gradually it becomes the current form (rice wrapped by leaves).

3. Traditions and Customs

  • Actually, there are others traditions and customs except for the common ways like dragon boat racing and eating zongzi.Eating Zongzi

The most popular custom on this day is eating zongzi. In China, almost all festivals are celebrated by eating a certain food. For example, on Mid-autumn festival, we usually eat moon cake, eating rice glue ball on the Lantern festival and dumplings on New Year’s Eve.

As for zongzi, it is a pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in reed leaves. And its fillings also vary from cities. Except for the rice, we usually put meat, red or green bean, peanuts, etc.

  • Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon boat racing is also originated from the idea of the people who drive the boat to save Qu Yuan. Different from the normal boat, dragon boat has a dragon-shape fore and stern. The activity has become a kind of sport nowadays. One team member sit at the front of the boat and beats a drum to keep other team members rowing at the same pace.

If you want to experience the enthusiasm of the Dragon Boat Festival, you can go to some cities where the festival warmly celebrated such as Tongren of Guizhou province and Zhanjiang of Guangdong province.

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