Dragon Boat Festival
The 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar year is an important day for the Chinese people. The day is called Duan Wu Festival, or Dragon Boat Festival, celebrated everywhere in
In the Warring States Period (475-221BC), the State of
Qu Yuan had refused to let Jin Shang, the chief minister in the State of
When the story reached the ears of Zhang Yi in Qin, he secretly sent a large amount of gold, silver and jewels to
The next year, as relations between Qin and
In 299 BC after several unsuccessful forays against
On the way, the King of Chu was seized by Qin troops. He died in captivity three years later.
Qu Yuan hoped to institute reforms and in poems satirized the corruption, selfishness and disregard for the people on the part of dubious characters who had achieved trusted positions. Neither this nor Qu Yuan's resolve to resist Qin set well with King Qing Xiang, who was in fact married to a daughter of the King of Qin, In 296 BC, Qu Yuan, then in his mid 50s, was banished for the second time. Grieving for the condition of his homeland, for years he wandered about south of the
During this period he poured out his feelings of grief and concern for his homeland in the allegorical Li Sao, a long autobiographical poem in which he tells of his political ideal and the corruption and mismanagement of the court.
In 280 BC Qin launched an overall invasion of Chu, and captured the
Qu Yuan's sufferings had gained the sympathy of the people of
The customs vary a lot in different areas of the country, but most of the families would hang the picture of Zhong Kui (a ghost that can exorcise), calamus and moxa in their houses. People have Dragon Boat Races, eatZong Zi(dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves) and carry a spice bag around with them.
Zhong Kui is the exorcist par excellence. His picture, a fierce-looking male brandishing a magic sword, used to be hung up in Chinese houses in order to scare away evil spirits and demons, especially in the time of Dragon Boat Festival.
On this day, most of the families would also hang calamus and moxa (oriental plants) on the front door. This is also to ward off evil.
The main event of the festivities is the Dragon Boat Race. These boats are long and thin with dragon heads on the bow of the ships. The boat races are said to represent the search for Qu's body, with racing boats in a forward rowing motion, to the rhythm of beating drums.
Qu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 BC. Since ancient times, Chinese people threw into the water dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves on the day. Therefore the fish would eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eatingZong Zi.
It is a very popular practice to drink this kind of Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar at the Dragon Boat Festival. This is for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year.
It's believed that if you carry the small spice bag using wholesale organza bags packing around with you, it not only drives away evil spirits but also brings fortune and happiness to those who wear it. The small organza bags are hand-made by local craftsmen. They're made with red, yellow, green and blue silk and organza