Cultural Information: Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, (Duan Wu Jie) is a traditional chinese festival held on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar. It is also known as the Double Fifth.

The most popular theory of the origin of this festival is that it was derived from the activities of commemorating a great patriotic poet, Qu Yuan ԭ. Qu Yuan served in the court of Emperor Huai during the Warring States (475 - 221 BC). He was wise and intellectual. His ability to fight against corruption antagonized other court officials. They exerted their influence on the Emperor who gradually dismissed Qu Yuan and eventually exiled him. During his exile, Qu Yuan traveled extensively, taught and wrote about his ideas. His works, the Lament x} (Li Sao), the Nine Chapters (Jiu Zhang), and the Questions to Heaven 솖 (Tien Wen) , are masterpieces and invaluable for studying ancient Chinese culture. He was heart broken to see the gradual decline of his mother country, the Chu State. When he heard that the Chu State was defeated by the strong Qin State, he was so despaired that he ended his life by drowning in the Miluo River. Legend says after people heard he drowned, they were greatly dismayed. Fishermen raced to the spot in their boats in search of his body. Unable to find his body, people threw zongzi, eggs and other food into the river to feed fish, hoping to salvage his body. Since then, people started to commemorate Qu Yuan through dragon boat races, eating zongzi and other activities, on the anniversary of his death, the 5th of the 5th month.

Zongzi Dragon Boat Race
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