The Dragon Boat Festival is an annual festival held in China each year on the 5th day of the fifth month (五月; wǔyuè;) of the traditional Chinese calendar. Such a date is the reason why this festival is also called the Double Fifth Festival. Another name for it is the Duanwu Festival. It originated in China and occurs in the summer solstice. This event commemorates the life and death of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese patriotic poet.
What is Dragon Boat Festival in China?
The Dragon Boat Festival is a festival that is full of superstitions and traditions. According to some people, the origin of this day started from dragon worship. Others say that this event is a sporting calendar. But the most popular one is that this event is held to remember and worship Qu Yuan, Cao E., and Wu Zixu. This festival has become a traditional holiday for so long already in China.
What is the History of Dragon Boat Festival?
There are many stories as to how the Dragon Boat Festival started. But the most popular one that most people acknowledge is that the festival is held to commemorate Qu Yuan.
Who is Qu Yuan?
Qu Yuan was a patriotic poet who lived from 340 to 278 BC. He was also an exiled official during the period of the Warring States in ancient China. He committed suicide by downing himself in the Miluo river during the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month. The reason for such fate was when he beloved Chu State fell into the hands of the State of Qin. When this happened, the local people tried to save him or recover his body, but they were unsuccessful.
What is the Origin of the Dragon Boat Festival?
As a way of commemorating Qu Yuan, the Dragon Boat Festival is held every fifth day of the fifth lunar month. During this day, people make noise by beating drums and they also paddle their boats on the river. Such activities are said to keep fish and evil spirits away from Qu Yuan’s body.
When is Dragon Boat Festival?
The Dragon Boat Festival is always held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in China. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar. Hence, the date of the festival varies each year on the Gregorian Calendar. This means that this year, the Dragon Boat Festival will be celebrated on June 14.
Why is Dragon Boat Racing Conducted for the Day?
According to history, the dragon boat racing activity originated from the legend of people paddling out their boats in the river to seek the body of Qu Yuan who drowned himself on Miluo river. Dragon boat racing is actually considered the most important activity during the Dragon Boat Festival and also the main symbol of the event.
The wooden boats used for the dragon boat racing are decorated and shaped in the form of a Chinese Dragon. The size of the boat varies by region. But in general, it is about 20 to 35 meters in lengths and needs about 30 to 60 people to paddle it so that it will move in the right pace.
During the Dragon Boat Racing activity, various teams of people in different boats paddle hurriedly and harmoniously which is accompanied by the loud sound of beating drums. According to the people, the team who wins the dragon boat race will be able to enjoy a happy life and good fortune in the following year.
Where to See the Dragon Boat Racing?
Since the dragon boat racing is one of the most important activities during the event, you should not miss it out. In fact, many places in China hold dragon boat races during the event. The four most prominent places where the race is held are: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, Yueyang International Dragon Boat Festival, Guizhou Dragon Canoe Festival of the Miao Ethnic People, and Hangzhou Dragon Boat Festival.
How to Celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival?
There are many fun-filled activities that are held during the celebration. The most prominent ones are the following:
Witnessing Dragon Boat Racing
Of course, this day will not be celebrated in the best way without witnessing dragon boat racing. Here, you will be amazed by the different teams of people paddling their way into the river as they race towards the end line. It will be fun to watch the harmonious and all-together paddling of the participants as well as the speed of the boats they are in.
Eating Some Good Sticky Rice Dumplings
A good delicacy that is usually eaten by people during the Dragon Boat Festival is sticky rice dumpling. This food is related to commemorating Qu Yuan since lumps of rice were thrown in to the river so that fish will stop eating his drowned body. But of course, during the celebration, you should not drop these dumplings into the water. You should eat them. There are different kinds but surely you’ll be able to pick the one that you like the most.
Drinking the Delicious Realgar Wine
The realgar wine is said to drive away diseases and evil spirits. This wine is also a staple delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival. You should try some of this wine. It tastes unique but good and you may even get lucky as it is effective in driving away all evil spirits.
Facts About the Dragon Boat Festival
- The Dragon Boat Festival has been celebrated for so long in China.
- On May 20, 2006, the Dragon Boat Festival was selected into the 1st batch of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Items.
- This event was first celebrated as a public holiday in China back in 2008.
- On October 30, 2009, the Dragon Boat Festival was added to the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
- Chinese mugworts and calamus are staple decorations during the Dragon Boat Festival. They have pleasant fragrance and they can also drive away mosquitoes and flies.
- People usually wear perfume pouches when they celebrate this day. These pouches are sewn little bags that have colorful silk cloth. They are filled with herbal medicines or perfumes.
- The Hong Kong Dragon Boast Festival is held in Victoria Harbor, Kowloon in Hong Kong.
- The Hangzhou Dragon Boat festival is held in Zhejiang province, specifically in Xixi National Wetland Park.
- The Guizhou Dragon Canoe Festival of the Miao Ethnic people is held in Guizhou province.
- The Yueyang International Dragon Boat Festival is held in Hunan Province, Yueyang prefecture.