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Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival is one of the major festivals in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and elsewhere around the world. Duanwu is the name widely used in Mainland China.  The fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar is the date to celebrate.

 

Legend

The Dragon Boat Festival originated from honouring QU Yuan; an author and a patriot. QU Yuan was a minister of the Chu Dynasty (BC115-BC223).  When his country was defeated by Qin he drowned himself in Miluo River in 278 BC.

 

Traditions 
Dragon boat racing:This tradition is for showing respect to gods of water.  The meaning of the dragon boat race changed with time. In ancient years, this activity was for training people’s skills of survival in readiness for water disasters, then gradually it’s meaning changed to pray to god for a good year of harvest. After 1970s, it’s become more like a sports competition.  It is of more sigificance as a ceremony in Southern China. The shape of the dragon boat is long and narrow, which is decorated with a dragon head at the front and dragon tail at the end. People wear their team uniform for the race. 
Hanging Chinese mugwort and calamus, aiming to keep evil spirits out of the home. The smell of these plants can also keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
Wearing perfume pouches. Pouches are always filled with herb or perfume, and they are related to expel evil spirits away.  This is very popular among young children.
Food
Zongzi. Zong zi are mainly made using sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. People add different ingredients, like salted duck egg yolk, red bean, red dates, etc.
In some areas, people drink realgar wine on the day, this alcoholic beverage is supposed to drive away evil spirits and repel disease.
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