Dragon Boat Festival---A Celebration of Tradition and Culture


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The origin of the Dragon Boat Festival dates back to ancient times, when it was believed to be a festival to ward off evil spirits and diseases. However, the most well-known story associated with the festival is the legend of Qu Yuan, a famous poet and minister of the ancient Chu Kingdom. Qu Yuan was falsely accused and exiled by the king, and he eventually drowned himself in the Miluo River in despair. To commemorate his patriotism and literary achievements, people held dragon boat races and threw rice dumplings (zongzi) into the river to feed the fish and prevent them from eating Qu Yuan's body. 

Today, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated with a variety of activities. The most exciting and popular event is the dragon boat race. These races involve teams of paddlers rowing long, narrow boats decorated with dragon heads and tails. The boats are propelled forward by the synchronized movements of the paddlers, and the race is often fiercely competitive. Spectators cheer and cheerlead for their favorite teams, creating a festive and exciting atmosphere. 

In addition to dragon boat races, people also prepare and eat zongzi during the Dragon Boat Festival. Zongzi are made by wrapping glutinous rice and various fillings, such as meat, beans, or eggs, in bamboo leaves and tying them with string. They are then boiled or steamed until cooked. Eating zongzi is a traditional way to remember Qu Yuan and to pray for good health and prosperity. 

Other customs associated with the Dragon Boat Festival include wearing sachets, drinking realgar wine, and hanging up calamus and mugwort leaves. Sachets are small bags filled with herbs and spices that are worn around the neck or hung in the home to ward off evil spirits. Realgar wine is a traditional Chinese liquor that is believed to have medicinal properties and to help prevent diseases. Calamus and mugwort leaves are hung up in the home to purify the air and drive away bad luck. 

The Dragon Boat Festival is not only a celebration of tradition and culture, but also a time for family reunions and community gatherings. People gather together to watch dragon boat races, eat zongzi, and participate in other festive activities. This holiday reminds us of our cultural roots and the importance of preserving and transmitting our traditions to future generations.

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