HOW TO CELEBRATE THE DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL IN CHINA AND AROUND THE WORLD – IMPORTANT CUSTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS FESTIVAL, OR DUANWU
PERSONAL NOTE: GROWING UP IN A small farming village in Malaysia, we would receive zonzi every year from a neighbor, who is not one of us…she came from a different ethnic group then. She had married someone in our village. She would make different kinds of Chinese snacks, including the annual zonzi (rice wrapped in bamboo leaves). When I was invited to be a visiting professor in mainland China, I was overjoyed to discover I could buy and eat zonzi any day of the year…today, I live outside Seattle and I can go to a Chinese grocery store to buy this zonzi on June 7, the official date this year to celebrate Duanwu or the Dragon Boat Festival. Steve, peace, usa June 6, 2019 Stephenehling@hotmail.com blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com
China’s Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu, is just around the corner. Also called the Double Fifth Festival, the holiday, which falls on June 7 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.