Do you know who is “Qu Yuan”? What type of “Zongzi” do you like most? Have you ever joined a dragon boat competition? All these are related to the Dragon Boat Festival.
Do you know the origin of this festival? Read the following essay and you will have a clear picture of the Dragon Boat Festival.
The 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar year is an important day for the Chinese people. The day is called Duan Wu Festival, or Dragon Boat Festival, celebrated everywhere in China.
This festival dates back to about 2,000 years ago with a number of legends explaining its origin. The best-known story centers on a great patriotic poet named Qu Yuan.
The customs vary a lot in different areas of the country, but most of the families would hang the picture of Zhong Kui (a ghost that can exorcise), calamus and moxa in their houses. People have Dragon Boat Races, eat Zong Zi (dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves) and carry a spice bag around with them.
It’s believed that if you carry the small spice bag around with you, it not only drives away evil spirits but also brings fortune and happiness to those who wear it. The small bags are hand-made by local craftsmen. They’re made with red, yellow, green and blue silk, fine satin or cotton. Figures of animals, flowers and fruits are often embroidered onto the bags and inside are mixed Chinese herbal medicines.
Dragon Boat Race
The main event of the festivities is the Dragon Boat Race. These boats are long and thin with dragon heads on the bow of the ships. The boat races are said to represent the search for Qu’s body, with racing boats in a forward rowing motion, to the rhythm of beating drums.
The Culture of Zongzi
Qu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 BC. Since ancient times, Chinese people threw into the water dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves on the day. Therefore, the fish would eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eating Zong Zi.
It is a very popular practice to drink this kind of Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar at the Dragon Boat Festival. This is for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year.