|What is exactly the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival and what do they do?|
Dragon Boat Festival 2017 falls on May 30 (Tuesday). The holiday in China starts from May 28 to 30, 2017.
Chinese: 端午节[duān wǔ jié]
Defined by Chinese lunar calendar, the date of Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month according to lunar calendar, so the Gregorian date varies every year, and hereunder is the holiday schedule from 2016 to 2021.
Origin & History
Why is the Dragon Boat Festival celebrated? With a history over 2,000 years, it used to be a hygiene day when people would use herbs to dispel diseases and viruses. However, the most popular origin is closely related to the great poet Qu Yuan in the Warring States Period (475 – 221BC). To engrave his death on the fifth day on the fifth lunar month, people celebrate the festival in various ways. Great people like Wu Zixu and Cao E also died on the same day, so in certain areas, people also commemorate them during the festival.
Legend of Qu Yuan
As a minister in the State of Chu - one of the seven Warring States, Qu Yuan was a patriotic poet who wrote a lot of works to show his care and devotion to his country. Composing masterpieces like Li Sao (The Lament), he was regarded as one of the greatest poets in Chinese history. After he was exiled by the king, he chose to drown himself in the river rather than seeing his country invaded and conquered by the State of Qin. He died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, thus people decided to commemorate him on that day every year.
Traditions & Customs
Many traditional customs and activities are held on the specified day by people in China and even by people in neighboring Asian countries. Dragon boat racing and eating Zongzi are the central customs of the festival. In some regions in China, people also wear a perfume pouch, tie five-color silk thread and hang mugwort leaves or calamus on their doors.
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