How Much Do You Know About Duanwu Jie – Dragon Boat Festival?

#duanwu #duanwufestival #端午节 #dragonboatfestival #Chinesetraditionalfestival #tradition #zongzi

Have you heard of Duanwu Jie, Dragon Boat Festival? If yes, fantastic! If not, read on…

Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Jie (端午节), together with Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important festivals in China.  It originated traditionally to remember the patriot poet Qu Yuan ((c. 340–278 BC)), who drowned himself in the Milou River more than 2000 years ago. It is a festival with a focus on the themes of patriotism and sacrifice.

What date is Duanwu Jie(端午节)?

Dragon Boat Festival takes place on the 5th of May the Lunar month every year. That’s why it is also called 双五节(Double Five Festival). In 2022, it falls on June 03.

Dragon Boat Festival Story

When we talk about Duanwu Jie, we need to mention a patriot poet 屈原 (Qu Yuan). After he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Milou River, the local people who admired him raced out in their boats to save him. This is said to have been the origin of the 龙舟赛 (Dragon boat races). To prevent the fish from destroying his body, people threw balls of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river to feed the fish. This is said to have been the origin of the 粽子 (zongzi).

Here is the story of Qu Yuan.

Duanwu Festival Celebration Activities

Dragon Boat Racing

On the day of Dragon Boat Festival, dragon boat racing is the most important activity. 20 paddlers sit along the length of the boat, with a drummer at the bow and a steerer at the rear form a team. During the races, dragon boat teams paddle harmoniously to move the boat forward in competition with the others. The sound of beating drums makes the race exciting. It is believed that the winning team will have good luck in the following year.

Making and Eating 粽子 Zongzi

Making and eating zongzi with family members and friends is a an important part of Duanwu Festival celebration. Traditionally, people wrap zongzi in bamboo leaves, in a pyramid shape. Bamboo leaves leave a unique aroma to the sticky rice ball and its fillings. Different regions in China have different preference of fillings. Northern regions usually prefer sweet fillings such as red bean paste and nuts; southern regions prefer savory fillings such as pork belly, sausages, and salted duck eggs; there are also zongzi without any fillings, which is called 白水粽.

Wearing 5-colored silk-threaded braid

In some regions of China, families put braided silk threads of 5 colors on the children’s wrists, on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Usually the 5 colors are 青(green)、红(red)、白(white)、黑(black)、黄 (yellow). These colors represent the 5 elements (wood, fire, water, metal, and earth) and therefore are viewed as lucky colors. People believe that wearing this 5-colored braid will help keep bad spirits and diseases away.

Chinese Vocabulary about Dragon Boat Festival

Here are some vocabulary

粽子 zòngzi sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, rice dumplings
竹叶 zhú yè bamboo leaf
糯米 nuòmǐ glutinous rice, sticky rice
龙舟 lóngzhōu dragon boat
龙舟比赛 lóngzhōu bǐsài dragon boat races
屈原 Qūyuán Chinese patriot poet who drowned himself
包粽子 bāo zòngzi to wrap Zongzi
吃粽子 chī zòngzi to eat Zongzi
看龙舟比赛 kàn lóngzhōu bǐsài to watch Dragon boat races
端午节  duānwǔ jié  Duanwu Festival
龙舟节 lóngzhōu jié Dragon Boat Festival
五彩绳 wǔcǎi shéng 5-colored thread

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#duanwu #duanwufestival #端午节 #dragonboatfestival #Chinesetraditionalfestival #tradition #zongzi

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