Dragon Boat Festival 端午节


Chinese Name: 端午节

English Name: Dragon Boat Festival

Time & Duration: The fifth day of the fifth lunar month

Customs: Dragon boat racing (Chinese: 划龙舟), Hanging wormwood (Chinese: 挂艾草, Eating rice dumplings (Chinese: 吃粽子), Wearing five-color silk thread (Chinese: 戴五色丝线), etc.

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节
Dragon Boat Festival 端午节

Brief introduction

The Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 is a folk festival that integrates worshipping gods and ancestors, praying for blessings and warding off evil spirits, celebrating entertainment and eating. The Dragon Boat Festival originated from the worship of natural celestial phenomena and evolved from the sacrifice of dragons in ancient times.

Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional cultural festival popular in China and other countries in the cultural circle of Chinese characters. Legend has it that Qu Yuan 屈原, a poet of Chu State 楚国 during the Warring States Period 战国时代, committed suicide by jumping on the Miluo River 汨罗江 on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, and later generations also regarded the Dragon Boat Festival as a festival to commemorate Qu Yuan

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节
Dragon Boat Festival 端午节

The origin of the Dragon Boat Festival covers ancient astrological culture, humanistic philosophy and other aspects, and contains profound and rich cultural connotations. It has mixed a variety of folk customs in the inheritance and development, and there are differences in the content or details of customs due to different regional cultures.

The origin of the Dragon Boat Festival

The origin of ancient traditional festivals is related to ancient primitive beliefs, sacrificial culture, astronomical phenomena, calendars and other human and natural cultural contents. Dragon and dragon boat culture has always run through the inheritance history of the Dragon Boat Festival.

According to research, the prerequisites for dragon boat racing are the characteristics of the southern coastal areas of China. In ancient of China, people in the southern water network area often used boats as means of production and transportation. In the work of catching fish and shrimps, people compare the amount of fish they catch, and when they are in leisure, they also meet for rowing and racing and entertaining in labour, production and leisure. This is the prototype of racing in ancient times.

The Dragon Boat Festival originated from the worship of celestial phenomena and evolved from the dragon totem sacrifice in ancient times. “Dragon” is the primitive belief of the ancients. On the Dragon Boat Festival, people hold some dragon-related activities to achieve the purpose of praying for blessings and auspiciousness and suppressing evil and disaster.

Folk-Custom Activity

Dragon boat racing 划龙舟

In ancient times, people used dragons as totems to show that they were “successors of dragons”. On the Dragon Boat Festival every year, a grand totem festival was held. Dragon boating is one of them. The dragon boat was originally a dragon-shaped canoe carved on a single canoe, and later developed into a dragon-shaped boat made of wooden boards.

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节
Dragon boat racing 划龙舟

Dragon boat has a long history and is a multi-person collective paddling competition. Dragon boat racing is divided into several sections, such as inviting dragons, sacrificing dragon gods, travelling dragons and collecting dragons. In the past, when people sacrificed to the Dragon God, the atmosphere was very serious, praying for blessings, preventing disasters and everything going well.

Hanging wormwood 挂艾草

Arranging all kinds of flowers and plants that can exorcise evil spirits and diseases on the Dragon Boat Festival has a long history. Ancient books have records that hanging wormwood in front of the door can remove poisonous gas. This is because moxa is an important medicinal plant, and it can be used to make moxa velvet to cure diseases, moxibustion acupoints, and expel insects. Moxa contains the most mugwort oil in May, so it has the best effect, and people are rushing to pick it.

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节
Hanging wormwood 挂艾草

A few wormwood plants are often hung at the door of the house. Due to the special fragrance of wormwood, people use it to repel diseases, prevent mosquitoes and ward off evil spirits.

Eating rice dumplings 吃粽子

Zongzi 粽子 is also known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings, which is a traditional Chinese rice dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Sometimes with reed or other large flat leaves. In terms of taste, there are two types of zongzi: salty zongzi and sweet zongzi.

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节

The custom of eating rice dumplings on the Dragon Boat Festival has been popular in China for thousands of years. It has become one of the most influential and wide-ranging folk eating customs of the Chinese nation, and has spread to Korea, Japan and Southeast Asian countries.

Wearing five-colour silk thread 戴五色丝线

Five-colour silk thread, a festival custom of the Han nationality, generally wears five-colour silk thread on the Dragon Boat Festival to ward off evil spirits. During the Dragon Boat Festival, it was a very popular custom to wear five-colour silk threads.

These customs have been passed on to later generations, and they have developed into many kinds of beautiful ornaments, and the production has become more and more refined, becoming the unique folk art of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节
five-colour silk thread 五色丝线

It is said that on the first rainy day after the Dragon Boat Festival, cutting the colourful threads and throwing them in the rain will bring good luck for the year.

Dragon Boat Festival (端午节)

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4 comment A文章作者 M管理员
  1. In 2022, Dragon Boat Festival falls on June 3, Chinese people can enjoy a 3-day national holiday from June 3rd (Friday) to 5th (Sunday).

    duānwǔ ān kāng
    Wish you peace and health on Dragon Boat Festival!

    • Many thanks.
      But the dates you discussed may be the dates in the Gregorian calendar(The dates could be changed in different years). Normally, the lunar date of the festival is fixed, which is preferably to be used and easy to bear in mind.
      Thanks for your valuable suggestions.
      By the way, am I clear?
      duānwǔ ān kāng

  2. Exactly. You explained very clearly. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

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