The Dragon Boat Festival is one fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the year. As one of the oldest festivals in China, it has more than 2000 years of history. It is said that the Dragon Boat Festival is to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan.
Let’s take a look at how we celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.
What do we eat at the Dragon Boat Festival?
1. 粽子[zòng zi] – Zongzi
It is said that after Qu Yuan drowned himself in the river, people couldn’t find his body, so they dropped rice balls into the river water to distract the fish from his body. Those rice balls slowly became the Zongzi we eat today. Zongzi has different shapes and flavors. Generally speaking, people in the south prefer salty Zongzi, while people in the north prefer sweet Zongzi.
2. 绿豆糕 [lǜ dòu gāo] – mung bean cakes
People in some places also eat mung bean cakes at the Dragon Boat Festival. It’s usually very hot around the Dragon Boat Festival, as per Chinese medicine, people think mung beans are great for detoxification.
3. 皮蛋[pí dàn], 咸鸭蛋[xián yā dàn] – thousand-year-old eggs & salted duck eggs
Some places also have the tradition of eating thousand-year-old eggs or salted duck eggs at the Dragon Boat Festival. Thousand-year-old eggs might not look that great, but they are delicious when properly prepared. Salted duck eggs are very salty, but the yolks are really tasty.
4. 喝雄黄酒 [hē xióng huáng jiǔ] – drink realgar wine
It’s said that drinking realgar wine can kill virus and keep you from getting sick. And parents will also dip a little realgar wine on their children’s foreheads at the Dragon Boat Festival hoping it will bring their children health and safety.
What do we do at the Dragon Boat Festival?
1. 门插艾草菖蒲 [mén chā ài cǎo chāng pú] – hang artemisia argyi and calamus on the front door
At the Dragon Boat Festival, people will hang artemisia argyi and
calamus on their front doors to drive bugs and mosquitoes away.
2. 戴五彩绳[dài wǔ cǎi shéng] – wear five-color bracelets
In some areas in the north, people also make five-color bracelets. It is said if we wear five-color bracelets on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, and cut it off on the next rainy day and throw it in the rain, it will bring us luck for a whole year.
3. 挂香包[guà xiāng bāo] – wear scented sachets.
In Jiangsu and Zhejiang area, people also like to wear embroidered scented sachets at the Dragon Boat Festival to keep bugs away.
4. 赛龙舟[sài lóng zhōu] – dragon boat races
It is said that many people rushed on their boats to save Qu Yuan after he drowned himself in the river, but they did not find him. So after that, people would hold dragon boat races to commemorate him at the Dragon Boat Festival every year.
What do we play at the Dragon Boat Festival?
立蛋 [lì dàn] – egg balancing challenge
In some areas, people like to play a game“egg balancing” at the Dragon Boat Festival. They think that making an egg stand on a table is the easiest to be done on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival due to gravity.
All of the above are the Dragon Boat Festival traditions. Last but not least, we usually say this phrase “端午安康” to people at the Dragon Boat Festival.
Wish you have a safe and sound Dragon Boat Festival!
If you are also interested in other Chinese traditional festivals, here are some videos for you:
Chinese Spring festival: https://youtu.be/uOj895FmyxY
Mid-autumn Festival: https://youtu.be/yRi-yLaofmg
Chinese Valentine’s Day: https://youtu.be/JKn4uxip07Y