The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese celebration that has been celebrated for many millennia. It is an official holiday in mainland China and is celebrated on the fifth day of the lunar month. This festival has a rich history and is associated with many customs and activities that are meant to bring good luck and health. Legend has it that the festival was created to commemorate the death of the poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in a river.
To honor his memory, people eat zōngzi, which are thought to resemble rice dumplings that villagers threw into the water to prevent fish from eating his body. People also boil and eat new garlic to stay healthy during the morning of the Dragon Boat Festival. Another category of activities aims to prevent ills and keep people healthy. These include bathing in herbal concoctions, hanging wormwood and calamus, and drinking regal wine.
During the Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese people place sagebrush and calamus leaves on doors or windows to repel insects, flies, fleas and moths from the house. These leaves have healing properties and can prevent an epidemic. In most parts of China, the weather is quite good this time of year, and people congregate outdoors, on the banks of rivers and lakes, to enjoy the good weather while watching traditional dragon boat races. Zongzi have long been thrown into rivers as an offering and sacrifice to the Dragon God on the fifth day of the lunar month, while dragon boats are used in the regattas that are traditionally held on that day. During the regattas, dragon boat teams row harmoniously and hastily, accompanied by the sound of drums.
In these scenarios, instead of watching from the shore, villagers sometimes paddle their family boats to the river to get a closer look at the dragon boats during the regatta. Perfume bags are hung around children's necks or tied to the front of a garment as an ornament during this festival. In some regions of China, on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, parents braid five-colored silk threads and put them on their children's wrists. On the morning of the Dragon Boat Festival, an old man from northeast China would roll a boiled egg over children's bellies, then peel it and let them eat it, which is believed to protect children from stomach pain. It is possible that the practice of dragon boat racing began as a way of worshiping an ancient dragon god. It's said that you'll be lucky next year if you manage to keep an egg upright during the Dragon Boat Festival. Every year, during this festival, dragon races are held around China, wherever there is a river, lake or sea. The Dragon Boat Festival is a time-honored tradition in China with many customs associated with it.
From eating zōngzi to participating in dragon boat races, there are many ways to celebrate this special holiday. People also take part in activities such as bathing in herbal concoctions, hanging wormwood and calamus leaves for protection against illness, drinking regal wine for health benefits, braiding five-colored silk threads for luck, and rolling boiled eggs over children's bellies for protection against stomach pain. The Dragon Boat Festival is a great opportunity for people to come together and celebrate Chinese culture while enjoying good weather and participating in traditional activities.