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Chinese traditional culture - Dragon Boat Festival


The Duanwu Festival is a Chinese traditional and statutory holiday. It is a public holiday in mainland China and in Taiwan, where it is known as the "Duanwu Festival". It is also a public holiday in Hong Kong and Macau, where it is known as Duen Ng Festival. Its alternative name in English is "Dragon Boat Festival", after one of the traditional activities for the holiday.

The Origin of Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, giving rise to the alternative name of Double Fifth. In 2008, this falls on 8 June. The focus of the celebrations include eating zongzi, which are large rice wraps, drink realgar wine, and race dragon boats.

The Dragon Boat Festival originated in ancient China. One traditional view holds that the festival memorializes the high official Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC-278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu (Warring States Period). Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in a river because he found out that Chu had lost a vital battle. The local people, knowing him to be a good man, decided to throw food into the river to feed ts, and tried to scare the fish away by the thundering sound of drums aboard the boat and carved dragon head on the boat's prow. Another popular legend holds that after Qu Yuan committed suicide, because the people loved him so much, they raced out to recover his body, and the races signify the boats skimming across the water to find him. In the early years of the Republic of China, Dragon Boat Festival was also celebrated as "Poets' Day," due to Qu Yuan's status athe fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body. They also sat on long, narrow paddle boats called dragon boas China's first poet of personal renown.

Today, people eat bamboo-wrapped steamed rice dumplings called zongzi (the food originally intended to feed the fish) and race dragon boats in memory of Qu Yuan's death.