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June 12th,2013 - the Chinese Dragon Boat Day

Author : Frank Date : 11/1/2010 8:25:56 PM

 

The Dragon Boat Festival, also called the Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. For thousands of years, the festival has been marked by eating zong zi (glutinous rice(糯米)wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo or reed leaves) and racing dragon boats.

  The festival is best known for its dragon-boat races, especially in the southern provinces where there are many rivers and lakes. Thisregatta(赛舟会)commemorates the death of Qu Yuan , an honest minister who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river. Qu was a minister of the State of Chu situated in present-day Hunan and Hubei provinces, during theWarring States Period(475-221BC)(战国时期). The people of Chu who mourned the death of Qu threw rice into the river to feed his ghost every year on the fifth day of the fifth month.

 During the Duanwu Festival, a glutinous rice pudding called zong zi is eaten to symbolize the rice offerings to Qu. Ingredients such as beans,lotus seeds(莲子),chestnuts(栗子), pork fat and the golden yolk of a salted duck egg are often added to the glutinous rice. The pudding is then wrapped with bamboo leaves, bound with a kind of raffia and boiled in salt water for hours.

   The dragon-boat races symbolize the many attempts to rescue and recover Qu's body. A typical dragon boat ranges from 50-100 feet in length, with a beam of about 5.5 feet, accommodating two paddlers seated side by side.  A wooden dragon head is attached at the bow, and a dragon tail at thestern(船尾). A banner hoisted on a pole is also fastened at the stern and the hull is decorated with red, green and blue scales edged in gold. In the center of the boat is a canopied shrine behind which the drummers,gong(铜锣)beaters andcymbal(铙钹)players are seated to set the pace for the paddlers.

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