Dragon Boat Festival | 端午节

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Today marks a traditional holiday in China and is widely celebrated in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. Occurring on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese calendar, it is alternatively named as Double Fifth (双五节).

The main focus of this particular day involves eating rice dumplings and drinking realgar wine (雄黄酒) and not forgetting the all important dragon boat race!

The origin of this festival is believed to date back to ancient China, in BCE 278 to commemorate the death of famous poet and statesman of the Chu Kingdom - Qu Yuan (屈原). Being a descendant of the Chu royal family, Qu Yuan served in high offices. Unfortunately, he was later accused of treason when the then King decided to ally with another powerful state, Qin. In his exile days, Qu Yuan wrote poetry to pass time. When Qin eventually captured Chu almost 3 decades later, he committed suicide out of despair by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

It was widely believed that his admirers dropped sticky glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river to feed the fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body. The locals then paddled out on boats in an attempt to scare the fish away and to retrieve his body. It was as such that the customary practice of eating rice dumplings and dragon boat racing came about!

Let us leave you to digest the origins of Dragon Boat Festival while we tuck away to our homemade dumplings!

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