What is Dragon Boat Festival?
The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the four traditional festivals in China, together with the Spring Festival, Qingming Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. The date of the festival is on the fifth day of the lunar fifth month. The Dragon Boat Festival in 2020 will fall on June 25.
The Origin of the Dragon Boat Festival
According to cultural legend, the Dragon Boat Festival is in memory of Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan was a native of Chu during the Warring States Time. He was a statesman and patriotic poet. After the fall of the Chu by Qin state, Qu Yuan sadly chose to plunge into the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Local people immediately organized boats to rescue him after hearing about it. Later, in order to express their grief, people paddled on rivers to worship the death of Qu Yuan, and this gradually developed into dragon boat races. People were afraid that the fishes in the river would eat his body, so they fed the fishes by dropping rice dumplings into the river. This later became the custom of eating “Zong Zi”。
The origin of The Dragon Boat Festival has something to do with the astrology and culture of ancient China. According to the astrological theory, the Dragon Boat Festival originated from the worship of cosmos and nature in ancient times. According to ancient legend, the date of the festival is when the dragon flies into the sky. People thus choose to worship their ancestors in this auspicious festival and hope to get blessings from them in-return.
The Dragon Boat Festival Customs
Dragon Boat Racing
龙舟就是用木板做成的龙形船，船头上装龙头，船尾装龙尾，船身上雕刻龙形花纹。赛龙舟的历史源远流长，最早可以追溯到7000年前。在端午这一天，人们分组进行集体竞赛，角逐胜者。Dragon boat is a boat made of wood with a dragon head, a dragon tail, and a body carved with dragon pattern. Dragon boat racing has a long history, dating back to 7,000 years ago. On the Dragon Boat Festival, people compete in groups to win the dragon boat racing.
Eating Rice Dumplings
Zongzi, also called rice dumplings, are composed of glutinous rice filled with stuffing. The glutinous rice is wrapped by mugwort or bamboo leaves and steamed before eating. In ancient China, zongzi played the role of offering sacrifices to ancestors. In modern times, zongzi became the food to be eaten as part of the celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival. Depending on the region, the filling of zongzi also varies greatly. People in south China, especially in Guangdong province, like to eat savory zongzi, stuffed with salted egg yolk, dried shrimp, and ham. In the north region, people like to eat sweet zongzi, stuffed with red dates, and red bean paste.
Hanging Mugwort Leaves in Front of the Door
Around the Dragon Boat Festival, people hang mugwort and calamus on their doorways. This is because mugwort has the effect of driving away mosquitoes and evil, especially when there are mosquitoes in June.
Eliminating Five Venomous Creatures
“Wu Du” refers to the five venomous creatures: scorpions, snakes, centipedes, geckos, and toads. In the south China, when weather turns hot, those creatures spread and hurt people. So people want to avoid the snakes and insects that cause diseases even death. On the Dragon Boat Festival day, people printed those five poisonous creatures on red paper and pierced them with five needles to symbolize elimination.
Eating Five Kinds of Yellow Food
In southeast China, there is the custom of eating “Five yellow” during the Dragon Boat Festival. It refers to five kinds of yellow food— “yellow croaker, cucumber, eel, duck egg yolk, and vinegar wine.” They are all the popular food in the June.
Global Impact of the Dragon Boat Festival
Nowadays, the Dragon Boat Festival has spread outside China and is known all over the world. In many Asian countries, such as Japan, the DPRK and Singapore, local residents make rice dumplings with local characteristics to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. In the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and other countries, the sport of dragon boat race is now becoming increasingly popular. It can be said that the Dragon Boat Festival is becoming an international festival.
n. The Dragon Boat Festival
n. lunar calendar
n. (340 B.C. – 278 B. C.)
A famous patriotic poet of Ancient China
n. Dragon Boat
n. rice dumpling
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文字 | Judy
翻译 | Judy
排版 | 史锦玉
审核 | 胜特团队