Duan Wu Jie Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, is a Chinese festival that is now popular outside of China. The festival is held every year on the fifth day of the fifth month. The festival is held to commemorate the death of patriot poet, Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan was a minister and poet who lived during the Warring States period of ancient China. He tried to persuade the King not to ally with the state of Qin, but the king ignored his words. Qu Yuan was then regarded as a traitor for opposing the alliance of the King and was exiled. During his exile, Qu Yuan continued to write poetry that told of his love for his country. After 20 years in exile, Qu Yuan heard that his country was overrun by the Qin state. Qu Yuan was desperate and decided to drown himself in the Miluo River in Hunan Province on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The locals tried to find his body. The fisherman used their boats and threw eggs and food into the river so fish or other animals wouldn’t destroy Qu Yuan’s body. This festival has been held for over 2,000 years. Many activities are done during this festival, including:
Dragon Boat Racing
* Dragon boat racing receives its name from the stern of the racing boat, which looks like a traditional Chinese dragon. Competitors are judged on their pedaling speed. There is also a drummer, who is judged on his ability to lead the paddlers with his rhythm.
* Dragon boat racing has become an international sport, and it now takes place in countries such as the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore.
* Zongzi is rice dumpling made of sticky rice and meat, wrapped in bamboo leaves and shaped like a pyramid.
* The Chinese believe that drinking wine on Dragon Boat Day will repel disease. Adults drink it, and children have it applied to the forehead, so that they will also be healthy.
Wearing perfume pouches
* This tradition is mostly done by children. They decorate their clothes with small perfume pouches made of five-color silk thread. They wear these to protect them from diseases and evil spirits.
Hanging mugwort leaves and calamus leaves
* This festival is held during the summer, when many disease-carrying insects roam. Chinese people hang mugwort leaves and calamus on the door or window. These plants repel insects and flies that cause disease.
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