What to Learn about the Annual Dragon Boat Festival in China
Dragon Boat Festival in China or locally known The Duanwu Festival has been celebrated as an important traditional holiday which takes place around the summer solstice. So, is it just about dragon and boat?
Dragon boat festival traditions
There are many dragon boat festival traditions and customs. The most common ones are including dragon boat racing, eating Xongzi, wearing perfume pouches, tying five-colour silk threads and also hanging mugwort leaves and calamus.
Interestingly, the festival is not only celebrated in China. You can find it in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and even Indonesia, just known with different names.
Dragon festival facts
Want to know more? Here are 7 dragon boat festival facts you should know:
• The date changes each year. It can be the first day of the fifth month based on China’s lunar calendar or about May 25th to July 24th. In 2018, the dragon boat festival took place on June 18th.
• It is a public holiday for Chinese people. They can have one-day break although the official holiday is usually for 3 days, including the two weekend days.
• It has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on October 30th, 2009.
• It was originally celebrated to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, the patriotic poet who drowned himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. On the festival, people will race on boats. They also drop rice into the river to make fish not feast on Qu Yuan’s body.
• Dragon boat racing is the most ceremonial activity. But now, it has been an internationally celebrated event.
• Zongzi or sticky rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves is the must to eat dragon boat festival food. Every family will have it for their meal in the morning. It may have various flavours and fillings inside depending on which region it comes from.
• Chinese people hung mugwort extract and calamus on doors to drive evil and diseases way away.
Dragon boat festival history can’t be separated from the story of Qu Yuan. He was a poet and worked as a minister during the Warring States over 2000 years ago.
Unfortunately, he was exiled and accused of treason for opposing the alliance between the king and the stage of Qin. He spent the time at exile by writing poems. He got despaired twenty-eight years later due to the Chu capital capturing by Qin and committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.
Can’t make it go to the festival? Do not worry. You can go to China next year. The festival is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 7th. Alternatively, you are still able to watch the annual world dragon boat championship held under the umbrella of International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) in Szeged, Hungary from17th to 22nd of July 2018. Be sure to book the flight from Airpaz to get the best ticket deals.