Chinese Dragon Boat Festival 2016: Customs and Activities
Dragon Boat Festival of 2016 falls on June 9. The holiday in China starts from June 9 to 11, 2016. Welcome to China and explore the traditional folk customs of this interesting festival.
The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant holiday celebrated in China, and the one with the longest history. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated by boat races in the shape of dragons. Competing teams row their boats forward to a drumbeat racing to reach the finish end first.
Falling on the 5th day of the 5th month according to Chinese lunar calendar, the Dragon Boat Festival is one of great significance. It has been held annually for more than 2,000 years and is notable for its educational influence. The festival commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), and also acts as a chance for Chinese people to build their bodies and dispel diseases. Many legends circulate around the festival but the most popular is the legend of Qu Yuan.
Traditions and Customs
There are many traditions for the Dragon Boat Festival and different areas have some different customs. Among them, the most popular ones are Eating Zongzi, drinking realgar wine, wearing perfumed medicine bags, hanging mugwort and calamus as well as dragon boat racing.
As the most popular food for the Dragon Boat Festival, Zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and stuffed with different fillings) is filled with different fillings for the people in the northern and southern China. In the north, it is mostly filled with the date, while in south with bean – paste, meat, egg yolk or ham. The Zongzi made in Jiaxing of Zhejiang is the most famous one in China.
During the festival, people usually hang mugwort and calamus on the front door, wear perfumed medicine bags and drink realgar wine as a way to prevent disease and evil.
Dragon Boat Festival Activities
Below are the four things people do on Dragon Boat Festival day.
Racing in Dragon Boat
Dragon Boat Racing is one of the most important events during this festival. Wooden boats are shaped and decorated like Chinese dragon. They are generally 30-50 meters long and require around 50 people to paddle. One team member sits at the front of the boat beating a drum in order to maintain morale and ensure that the rowers keep up with the pace of one another. It is said that the winning team will bring harvest and happy life to their village.
Eating Rice Dumplings (Zong Zi)
These Rice Dumplings are no ordinary lumps of rice. They are made from a particular kind of glutinous rice, with various fillings inside, such as egg yolks, meat, sausages, beans, dates or nuts, etc. Most families wrap these rice dumplings into a triangular or rectangular shape with bamboo leaves.
Drinking Realgar Wine
Realgar wine is a Chinese alcoholic drink made from fermented cereals and powdered realgar. In ancient times, realgar was considered to be an antidote for all poisons and people used to believe that drinking it drives diseases and evils away.
Wearing Perfume Pouches
Before the festival, parents would prepare perfume pouches for their children. It is a kind of small pouch made from colourful silk cloth stringed with five-coloured silk thread. During the Festival, perfume pouches are hung around kids’ necks or tied to the front of a garment as an ornament.