2011 Dragon Boat Festival: Are You Ready to Join in ?

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Dragon boat festival, also known as Double Fifth Day, falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of Chinese lunar calendar. It is one of the traditional festivals in China, which has more than 2,000 years of history. Traditionally, it is in memory of a great patriot poet, Qu Yuan, of the State of Chu during the warring States period. 2011 Dragon Boat Festival will be on June 6th in calendar.

Happy Dragon Boat Festival

When this year’s dragon boat festival is coming, let’s see what Chinese usually do to celebrate it!

Many traditional customs and activities are held on the specified day by the Chinese people and even by some people in China’s neighbouring countries. Among these customs are dragon boat racing, eating zongzi, wearing a perfume pouch, tying five-colour silk thread and hanging mugwort leaves and calamus.

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Race

The boat races during the Dragon Boat Festival are traditional customs to attempts to rescue the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, a great patriot poet of the State of Chu during the warring States period (475-221 B.C.). He drowned himself to protest his emperor and gave in to the bully State of Chin. To avoid the fish to consume his body, people of Chin launched their boats and threw rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river where he was drowned to feed the fish.

Nowadays, dragon boat race is the most exciting part of the festival.Dragon Boats are generally brightly painted and decorated canoes. Their heads are shaped like open-mouthed dragons, while the sterns end with a scaly tail. A drummer and flag-catcher stand at the front of the boat. Before a dragon boat enters competition, it must be “brought to life” by painting the eyes in a sacred ceremony.

For Chinese, dragons are strong, powerful creatures, symbols of benevolence and protection, hence their exalted status. Dragon boat races symbolize the Chinese virtues of teamwork and cooperation – and bless the community with happiness and prosperity. And that is the moral of this story- the community that rows together, grows together!

Eating Zongzi

Zong Zi (or Rice Dumpling)

Zongzi (also known as rice dumplings or Chinese tamales in Western world) is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling.

According to legend, packets of rice were thrown into the river to prevent fish from eating the Qu Yuan’s body after he drowned himself to protest his emperor who gave in to the bully State of Chin.

Having Talisman and Charms

The Picture of Zhong Kui

At the beginning of summer, when diseases are likely to strike, people also wear talisman to fend off evil spirits. They may hang the picture of Zhong Kui, guardian against evil spirits, on the door of their homes, as well. Adults may drink Xiong Huang Wine, and children carry fragrant silk pouches, all of which can prevent evil.

Hanging Mugwort Leaves and Calamus

Hanging Mugwort Leaves and Calamus

Chinese People hanging mugwort leaves to prevent bad luck to their house.