Mandarin Culture

Chinese Festivals: Dragon Boat Festival- 端午节

By on June 7, 2019

The Dragon Boat Festival is part of the four most popular festivals in China (中国四大传统节日): the Spring festival, also known as Chinese New Year (春节), the Tomb Sweeping day (清明节), Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) and the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节). The Dragon Boat Festival has many other names in Chinese such as 五月节,龙舟节 and 午日节.

When is the Dragon Boat Festival? 

This festival is celebrated every 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar  (农历), that’s why it is celebrated on a different date every year on the Gregorian Calendar. In 2019, the date of this festival is on June 7, but the public holidays in China will be from June 7 to June 9.

Origins of the Dragon Boat Festival

This festival has different versions but the most popular is the remembrance of Qu Yuan (屈原). Qu Yuan (340 BC – 278 BC) was a well-known and respected Chinese politician and poet that lived in the state of Chu (楚国). The festival originates with the legend that Qu Yuan drowned in the Miluo River (汨罗江), immediately people from the village race their boats and went to save him but didn’t succeed. From that day on, people commemorate him with the traditional Dragon Boat Races.

Activities of this festival
1. Dragon Boat race: 赛龙舟

Dragon boat races are taken place in the south part of China, and it has a big millennial history. According to the legend, winners of the race will bring the biggest harvest, and prosperity to their village.

2. Eating Zongzi: 粽子

Zongzi is the popular festival food of the dragon boat festival. It is a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in a triangle shape and it can have a lot of types of fillings (馅儿). In the North, you can find a variety of sweet dumplings with sweetened bean paste (豆沙),and in the South, you can also find salty ones with fillings of meat and eggs.

3. Wearing five-color bracelets (五色丝线)

Children wear these bracelets during the festival and its main purpose is to bring a long and healthy life. Also, the legend says that on the first rainy day after the Dragon Boat Festival, you should cut the bracelet and throw it in the rain, and it will bring good luck for the whole year.


The foto was taken in Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race by Samuel Wong. (Unsplash)




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