Customs to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chu state official and poet who lived during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). [Photo/IC]
China's Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu, is just around the corner. Also called the Double Fifth Festival, the holiday, which falls on June 14 this year, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also throughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years. In 2006, the traditional festival was listed as part of China's national intangible cultural heritage. In 2008, it was recognized as a public holiday in the Chinese mainland.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chu state official and poet who lived during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) before the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). He was exiled after opposing his king's decision to ally with the neighboring state of Qin, and when Chu was finally conquered by Qin, he committed suicide by drowning in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
The Chu people, who admired Qu Yuan for his loyalty and integrity, threw rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat the body of their poet hero. People then started dragon boat racing to scare off the fish.
Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is celebrated as the Dragon Boat Festival. The following are some customs for the festival.