Discovering China | The Dragon Boat Festival

Chinese Festivals – The Dragon Boat Festival

On the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, Chinese people celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 (duānwǔ jié). 

During this holiday people commemorate the life and the death of the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan.

Dragon Boat Festival – When is Dragon Boat Festival?

Dragon Boat Festival – Who is Qu Yuan?

Dragon Boat Festival – Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Festival – Rice Dumplings

Dragon Boat Festival – FAQ’s

Dragon-Boat-Festival

When is Dragon Boat Festival?

Dragon Boat Festival is the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, but chances are that makes not so much sense to a number of readers, so let’s refer to the Gregorian Calendar:

2022 – Friday June 3rd

2023 – Thursday June 22nd

2024 – Monday June 10th

Who is Qu Yuan?

Qu Yuan was a patriotic author during the 5th century B.C., who was serving the State of Chu.

Dragon Boat Festival in China
Dragon Boat Festival in China

When some corrupt ministers slandered him, the Emperor Qingxiang exiled the poet to the regions south of the Yangtze River.

In 278 BCE, he was greatly concerned over the corruption in the government and felt powerless to remedy against it, QuYuan drowned himself by attaching a heavy stone to his chest and jumping into the Miluo River.

According to a Chinese legend, fishermen rowed dragon boats to recover Qu Yuan’s body and tried to scare away the sea creatures by beating drums and splashing their paddles.

Furthermore they wrapped some rice into triangle silk packages to ward off the dragon that haunted the river so that the monster would not eat the body of the poet.

Since then, every year on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, Chinese people sympathize with Qu Yuan’s death rowing “Dragon boats” and eating rice dumplings.

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Festival - Race Day!
Dragon Boat Festival – Race Day!

Dragon boat racing can be considered the most important activity during this Festival.

Teams of 30 or 60 people paddle wooden dragon shaped boats accompanied by the sound of beating drums.

The boat size can vary by region and is generally about 20–35 meters.

It is believed that the winning team will have good luck and have a happy life in the following year.

If you happen to be staying with a Chinese family at an LTL homestay during this festival it’s worth asking them where the nearest race is, pop along, pick a team and cheer them home to victory!

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Rice Dumplings

Rice Dumplings - Delicious Food
Rice Dumplings – Delicious Food

There’s no Dragon Boat Festival without sticky rice dumplings.

In ancient times these rice dumplings, 粽子 (zòngzi), were made from broomcorn millet wrapped in gourd leaves in the shape of a palm leaf heart.

Nowadays they are made from glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or lotus leaves and tied with soaked stalks or colorful silk cords.

Zòngzi can be salty or sweet and can contain red beans, vegetables, or meat.filling. Traditions of making these special dumplings vary across different parts of China.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Have a happy Dragon Boat Festival

端午节快乐! 

Find out more about traditional Chinese festivals here:

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Dragon Boat Festival – FAQ’s

When is Dragon Boat Festival?

On the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar.

2022 – Friday June 3rd

2023 – Thursday June 22nd

2024 – Monday June 10th

What is Dragon Boat Festival?

A festival to celebrate and commemorate the life and the death of the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan.

What do you eat for Dragon Boat Festival?

Rice Dumplings called Zong Zi. In ancient times these rice dumplings, 粽子(zòngzi), were made from broomcorn millet wrapped in gourd leaves in the shape of a palm leaf heart.

What are some other important holidays in China?

The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year in China.

Next up we have National Day, part of the Golden Week, that happens each year from October 1st to 7th.

Check out all Chinese national holidays here.

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