Dragon Boat Festival in Hangzhou

Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the DuanWu Festival, starts in the Spring and Autumn period, and has more than 2,000 years of history. In Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang regions in China, it’s generally considered to commemorate Wu Zixu in Spring and Autumn Period. In eastern Zhejiang, the local residents regard it as the day to remember the filial daughter Cao’e. And some believe it comes from Gou Jian the King training the marine.

While there are lots of theories, but the most convincing version is the Qu Yuan and the patriotism he carries. His patriotism inspires generations of Chinese people; we should always cherish the memory. It is a name that closely linked to the Dragon Boat Festival. Every time when you smell the fragrance of rice dumpling, when you hear the dragon boat racing clarion, perhaps you will think of him, a respectable Chinese patriotic poet. In order to commemorate the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan, Chinese folk hold Dragon Boat Festival every fifth lunar month annually, this custom was later spread to Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries. Qu Yuan lived in the Warring States era of two thousand three hundred years ago. Two thousand years which in the course of history can not be considered short, but despite the past of time, the poet Qu Yuan’s spirit is still living in our heart. Even today, at every Dragon Boat Festival, people still have dragon boat competition, tie colorful silk thread around the rice dumplings. The story do have a huge influence.1

Chinese folks make the Dragon Boat Festival a solemn celebration along with a wide variety of activities, such as: Dragon Boat Race, eating rice dumplings, iris leaves hanging etc. Here we will focus on eating dumplings and dragon boat racing.

Rice dumpling first appeared in the Spring and Autumn Period, when there were two main dumplings with water bamboo leaves wrapped into a horn-shaped; sealed loaded with bamboo rice cooked. To the Jin Dynasty, the Dragon Boat Festival eating dumpling become a national custom, some herbal medicines was added into the dumplings besides rice. In the Tang Dynasty, the Dragon Boat Festival dumplings have become essential food. Many famous poems can reflect the universal time eating dumplings. Song Dynasty there has been wrapped with the wormwood leaves. In Yuan Dynasty, mushroom leaves wrapped dumplings changed into bamboo leaves, breaking the limitation of season. In Ming Dynasty, reed leaves appeared in dumplings package, additional material has appeared hummus, pork, pine nuts, dates, walnuts, more colorful varieties. Today, the popular “ham dumplings” appeared in the Qing Dynasty Qianlong period. Today’s rice dumpling is more diverse, and also essential in this festival.2

At the festival people also hold a grand dragon boat contest. Before race, saluting Qu Temple is generally required. People from all over, young and old, wearing new clothes, together carrying a dragon head, worship Qu temple with dumplings, steamed buns, drinks and others. Then the deacon will tie a red silk to the dragon head, carry it to the river to have a bath for it, then put it in the front of the boat, the boat race begins. Dragon boats’ shape differs from time and regions. Today, dragon boats have been simplified than the old ones. The race rituals, rules, tips and scenarios also differ from place and time. Today, dragon boat racing has gained new development. Dragon boat racing has been listed as an official national sporting event. Since 1984, “Qu Yuan Cup” Dragon Boat Race has been held more than 10 sessions. In 1991, the International Dragon Boat Federation was founded in Hong Kong. Subsequently, the Asian Dragon Boat Federation and European Dragon Boat Federation have been established, dragon boat racing as an independent sport, has currently being carried out in more than 60 countries and regions around the world on five continents, more than 40 countries and regions hold international organized race annually, Asian Dragon Boat Championships, the World Dragon Boat Championships have been successfully held many sessions.3

Hangzhou Dragon Boat Festival requires a few essential things, eating cucumber, eel or buy old sachets from Fang Hui Chun Tang and Hu Qing Yu Tang. And the dragon boat racing is the must see contest.

Today, the Dragon Boat Festival is already a legal holiday, the significance doesn’t need further description. It also carries the cultural heritage of our nation.

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One Response to Dragon Boat Festival in Hangzhou

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