How well you know about Chinese Culture – The Dragon Boat Festival (Part 2)
Dragon Boat Festival is the 5th day of the May based on the Chinese lunar calendar. There are various names of this festival, among which, Dragon Boat Festival is mostly widely known for the dragon boat racing held for the festival. For some time, it was believed that this festival was set up to honor Yuan QU, a poet, and statesmen from the Chu empire in B.C. 278. It was said that QU died by jumping off the Nie Luo river after his country was breached by the Qin empire. In order to keep the fish away from his body, people threw zongzi (a kind of food which is going to be talked below) from the dragon boats into the river to feed the fish. However, more research has been revealed that activities related to the dragon boat begun long before the period of Yuan QU. The dragon-shaped boat racing was started from a tribe that worshipped the dragon. Zongzi was also used as a sacrifice offering to the god of the dragon by this tribe.
Many provinces in the south would still prepare for the sacrifice offerings including chicken, rice, fruit and zongzi in order to hope that the next year would be a great year in terms of agriculture activities and the peace and fortune will be brought in.
Another activity is to hang the wormwood and calamus leaves at home or at the door. As for the wormwood, its unique scent can keep flies and mosquitoes away, as well as purify the air. In terms of calamus, its distinct scent can not only keep incest away but also refresh a person’s mind. The reason why they matter is that the festival is the first festival after the summer begins and it gets hot and hot, and the scents of those two plants can prevent people from developing some related diseases.
There are also some special foods for this festival. One of them is zongzi, also known as traditional Chinese rice pudding or rice dumpling. It is made of the glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaf. It is one of the traditional foods of China. There are various stuffing including, meat, ham, yolk, and bean paste. It can be traced back to two thousand years ago.
Although many minorities are also celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival, there are many differences between the ways they celebrate. Even among the Han, people living in different provinces celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival differently. Additionally, numerous poems have been made by poets over the past thousand years to celebrate this festival.