Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu or Tuen Ng Festival, is a traditional holiday observed annually over 2,000 years in China to commemorate Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), an ancient Chinese patriotic poet.
How Do People Celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in China?
Eating Dragon Boat Food — Zongzi
It is a tradition for the Chinese to eat zongzi during the Dragon Boat Festival, which are wrapped in bamboo or lotus leaves. Zongzi is made differently in different areas of China. People in the north enjoy zongzi with dates, while people in the south prefer mixed ingredients, such as meat, sausages, and eggs.
How to Make a Zongzi
1. Prepare the ingredients: sticky rice, bamboo or reed leaves, and some filings like red dates, meat and beans.
2. Wash the rice, and then boil the rice for 15-20 mins, or soak the rice in water for 2 hours.
3. Wash the leaves, and soak them in boiling waters for 5 mins, and then cool it in water.
4. Fold one or two leaves into a cone-shaped fossa, and fill rice and other ingredients in it with a spoon. The fillings should not be too packed, and then wrap and tie it with strings or boiled straws.
5. Put the Zongzi in the boiling pot and keep them fully submerged in water.
6. After 2-3 hours' boiling, put them in water to cool for eating.
Dragon Boat Racing
The most popular activity of the Dragon Boat Festival is racing dragon boats. This folk custom has been held for more than 2,000 years throughout southern China, the origin of the festival is said to be when locals paddled out on boats to scare the fish away and retrieve Qu Yuan's body (the patriotic poet who drowned himself in the Miluo River when the Chu State fell in 278 BC). The races are a symbol of the attempts to rescue and recover the body of Qu Yuan.
Dragon boat racing has become an international event. The sport is popular in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other countries. Some of the events are held during July, August, or September, and not held during the Dragon Boat Festival.
Drinking Realgar Wine
There is an old saying: 'Drinking realgar wine drives diseases and evils away!' Realgar wine is a Chinese alcoholic drink consisting of fermented cereals and powdered realgar.
In ancient times, people believed that realgar was an antidote for all poisons, and effective for killing insects and driving away evil spirits. So everyone would drink some realgar wine during Duanwu Festival.
Wearing Perfumed Medicine Bags
Before Dragon Boat Festival arrives, parents usually prepare perfume pouches for their children.
During Dragon Boat Festival perfume pouches are hung around kids' necks or tied to the front of a garment as an ornament. The perfume pouches are said to protect them from evil.
Tie Five Color Thread on Wrist for Kids
Why do the Dragon Boat Festival bring colorful ropes? The custom of the colorful knots in the Dragon Boat Festival originated in the Han Dynasty and has not declined. The folks regard the colorful ropes as "multicolored dragons", and the Dragon Boat Festival is also called "Children's Day". In May, the ancients called the poisonous moon. The Dragon Boat Festival has a colorful rope to protect children from evil spirits. The five-color rope that washes away with the water will become a dragon and take away the bad things on your body. In this way, troubles and sorrows will flow away with the rain, which will bring you good luck for one year.
Hanging Chinese Mugwort and Calamus
The Dragon Boat Festival is the first festival in the summer, and the temperature rises. Is the period of disease, so many years ago, people often hang a few plants in front of the door. Due to the special smell of wormwood, people use it to drive away diseases, mosquitoes, evil.