The fifth day of the fifth lunar month
The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Festival, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. For thousands of years, the festival was marked by eating zong Zi (glutinous rice wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo leaves or grass) and racing dragon boats.
The festival is best known for his dragon boat racing, particularly in the southern provinces where there are many rivers and lakes. This regatta commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a minister who is honest that he committed suicide by drowning in a river.
Qu was a minister in the State of Chu, located in present-day provinces of Hunan and Hubei provinces, during the Warring States Period (475-221BC). He was standing, loyal and highly esteemed for his wise counsel, who brought peace and prosperity of the state. But when a prince vilified Qu dishonest and corrupt, he was disgraced and dismissed. Realizing that the country was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, Qu grabbed a large rock and jumped into the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth month. Fishermen in the vicinity rushed to try to save him, but was unable to even recover his body. After the state declined and was finally conquered by State Qin.
Chu people who mourned the death of Qu rice thrown into the river to feed his ghost every year on the fifth day of the fifth month. But one year, the spirit of Qu appeared and said to the grief that a huge reptile in the river had stolen the rice. The Spirit then instructed to wrap the rice and silk tie by five different colored threads before pouring into a river.
During the Duanwu Festival, a glutinous rice pudding called Zong Zi is eaten to symbolize the rice supply to Qu. Ingredients such as beans, lotus seeds, chestnuts, pork fat and the golden yellow of salted duck eggs are often added to rice sticky. The pudding is wrapped in bamboo leaves, bound by a sort of raffia and boiled in salted water for hours.
Dragon boat races symbolize the many attempts to save and retrieve the body of Qu. A typical dragon boat ranges between 50 and 100 feet long with a beam of about 5.5 meters, with room for two paddlers sitting side by side.
A wooden dragon head is attached to the prow and a dragon tail at the stern. A banner hoisted on a mast is attached to the rear and the hull is decorated with red, green and blue scales edged in gold. In the middle of the boat is a canopied shrine behind which the drummers, drummers and gong players are pelvic set the pace for the paddlers. There are also men, placed in the bow to set off fireworks, throwing rice into the water and pretend to be looking for Qu. All the sounds and creates a wonderful atmosphere of gaiety and excitement for participants and spectators. The races are held between different clans, villages and organizations, and the winners are awarded medals, banners, jugs of wine and festive meals.