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.

When is Dragon Boat Festival?

Who is Qu Yuan?

Dragon Boat Racing

Rice Dumplings

FAQ’s

Dragon-Boat-Festival
Chinese Holidays Explained - How Do Chinese Public Holidays Work? Thumbnail

Chinese Holidays Explained – How Do Chinese Public Holidays Work?

Chinese Holidays: Chinese Public Holidays 2019/2020 Happy Spring Festival in Chinese: 春节快乐 Chinese National Holidays can be very complicated and unpredictable, since a lot of them depend on the dates of the Lunar calendar which changes every year. There are…

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:

2020 – Thursday June 25th

2021 – Monday June 14th

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!

How Do You Say Happy New Year in Chinese? Thumbnail

How Do You Say Happy New Year in Chinese?

Happy New Year in Chinese: The Many Ways of Wishing Your Friends a Happy Spring Festival How do say Happy New Year in Chinese? That time of the Lunar Year has rolled around again, and we’re about to step out…

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:

Chinese New Year - The Complete Guide To China's Biggest and Most Important Holiday Thumbnail

Chinese New Year – The Complete Guide To China’s Biggest and Most Important Holiday

Chinese New Year 🇨🇳 Traditions Superstitions, Vocab and Experiences. A complete guide to Chinese New Year from different perspectives.

Tomb Sweeping Festival - Chinese Qīngmíng jié Thumbnail

Tomb Sweeping Festival – Chinese Qīngmíng jié

Tomb Sweeping Festival – Explained in Full Every year on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, Chinese people celebrate 清明节 (Qīngmíng jié) “Tomb Sweeping Festival”. This is a day in which Chinese people pay respect to their ancestors. Even though…

Dragon Boat Festival – FAQ’s

When is Dragon Boat Festival?

On the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar.
2020 – Thursday June 25th
2021 – Monday June 14th
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.

Want more from LTL?

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list.

We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools! Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!

Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi, Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

    How can I help you?




captcha