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Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese:端午节), or Duanwu Festival in Chinese, is a grand and statutory festival celebrated on the May 5th of the Chinese lunar calendar. Dragon Boat Festival has a history of about 2500 years according to the popular story saying that it is a festival to commemorate the great patriotic poet Quanyuan (339BC- 278BC) of Chu State in Warring States Period (475BC- 221BC).

As the story goes, the patriotic poet and statesman Quanyuan was loyalty to his country, Chu State, and always proposed frank suggestions to his king but was accused of treason and exiled; after knowing the Chu Army had been defeated in a vital battle, he committed suicide by drowning himself in Miluo River, a river near the Dongting Lake in Hunan Province on May 5th of the lunar calendar. When local people heard the news, they went boating to rescue this revered official but failed. To prevent his body from eating by fish, people throw rice lumps into the river to feed the fish. Year after year, dragon boat racing and eating Zongzi are fixed as two essential tradition of Dragon Boat festival. As for Zongzi (Chinese:粽子), it is a kind of glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, and popular ingredients include beans, dates, fruits, sweet potato, walnuts, mushrooms and meat.

Apart from racing dragon boat and eating Zongzi, other customs also popular among people during Dragon Boat Festival, like hanging calamus and Folium Artemisiae argyi on doors, smoking herb and angelica dahurica, and drinking realgar wine, which are all believed to drive out evils spirits. Thought it is of some superstitious, these objects indeed have anti-poison function and can repel insects like flies, fleas and moths away from the house according to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine.

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