The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most popular traditional festivals celebrated in China, which is on the fifth of the fifth lunar month, also known as Duanwu Festival. It’s said that it is to commemorate the death of a Chinese patriotic poet, Qu Yuan, who was snared by corrupt officials in ancient China and finally committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River to protest against them. The traditions and customs held on this festival differ from place to place, but there are some common in them. First, the most famous and great tradition is holding Dragon Boat races, which are held by fishermen’s attempt to protect Qu Yuan’s body against attacking by fishes and other animals in the river by beating drums and row the dragon shaped boat. Nowadays dragon boat races have been an annual popular sport activity among people. In addition, making and eating Zongzi—a dumpling made of glutinous rice and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves—is also a popular custom during this day. It can be made by many kinds of stuffing. What’s more, hanging herbs on the front door, drinking realgar wine and pasting up picture of Zhongkui—a mythic guardian figure in ancient china—are also popular during the festival, which are mean to protect people from evil and disease. These customs and traditions have been changed a little in recent years, but they still make contribution to the spread and inheritance of Chinese culture.
Dragon Boat Festival Customs端午节习俗Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival, held all over the country. As the gun is fired, people will see racers in dragon-shaped canoes pulling the oars harmoniously and hurriedly, accompanied by rapid drums, speeding toward their destination. Folk tales say the game originates from the activities of seeking Qu Yuan's body, but experts, after painstaking and meticulous research, conclude that dragon boat racing is a semi-religious, semi-entertaining program from the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). In the following thousands of years, the game spread to Japan, Vietnam and Britain as well as China's Taiwan and Hong Kong. Now dragon boat racing has developed into an aquatic sports item which features both Chinese tradition and modern sporting spirit. In 1980, it was listed into the state sports competition programs and has since been held every year. The award is called "Qu Yuan Cup."
賽龙舟，是端午节的主要习俗。相传起源于古时楚国人因舍不得贤臣屈原投江死去，许多人划船追赶拯救。他们争先恐后，追至洞庭湖时不见踪迹。之后每年五月五日划龙舟以纪念之。借划龙舟驱散江中之鱼，以免鱼吃掉屈原的身体。竞渡之习，盛行于吴、越、楚。 其实 ，“龙舟竞渡”早在战国时代就有了。在急鼓声中划刻成龙形的独木舟，做竞渡游戏，以娱神与乐人，是祭仪中半宗教性、半娱乐性的节目。后来，赛龙舟除纪念屈原之外，在各地人们还付予了不同的寓意。此外，划龙舟也先后传入邻国日本、越南等及英国。1980年，赛龙舟被列入中国国家体育比赛项目，并每年举行“屈原杯”龙舟赛。
Zongzi is an essential food of the Dragon Boat Festival. It is said that people ate them in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). In early times, it was only glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in reed or other plant leaves and tied with colored thread, but now the fillings are more diversified, including jujube and bean paste, fresh meat, and ham and egg yolk. If time permits, people will soak glutinous rice, wash reed leaves and wrap up zongzi themselves. Otherwise, they will go to shops to buy whatever stuff they want. The custom of eating zongzi is now popular in North and South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asian nations.
On Dragon Boat Festival, parents also need to dress their children up with a perfume pouch. They first sew little bags with colorful silk cloth, then fill the bags with perfumes or herbal medicines, and finally string them with silk threads. The perfume pouch will be hung around the neck or tied to the front of a garment as an ornament. They are said to be able to ward off evil.