Dragon Boat Festival
Several thousand years ago, densely weedy lakes and hosts of poisonous snakes and insects characterize the south of China. But people born and brought up in this Yangtze River area had also built up a rich store of culture. And from these different cultural patterns, evolved many of the folk customs associated with the Dragon Boat Festival.
By two thousand five hundred years ago, the Dragon Boat Festival had gradually become one of China's traditional festivals, held each May the fifth, according to the lunar calendar. The Dragon Boat Festival is popular amongst most Chinese people, both those living at home in their native country and those overseas. But it is particularly celebrated in Zigui County and Huangshi City, Hubei Province, Miluo City in Hunan Province and Suzhou City in JiangSu Province.
The colorful and the diversified folk customs involved in the Dragon Boat Festival have developed from older customs around this season, aimed at driving away evil. Chief amongst these were the elimination of diseases, the chasing away of the evil spirits and the warding off of natural disasters. The festival possesses an unique national spirit and abundant connotations, which have deep influence on the lives of Chinese people.
During the Dragon Boat Festival, people from different areas organize many folk custom activities. These include sacrifices made in memory of Chinese historical figures. The poet, Qu Yuan, is chiefly venerated around Zigui County in Hubei Province and Miluo City in Hunan Province. Meanwhile, the ancient hero, Wu Zixu is more honored in the areas to the south of the Yangtze River.
Sports competitions are held: spectacular and impressive dragon boat races held in Zigui County and Miluo City, as well as many other sites. In addition, various other competitive folk games and activities take place, such as shooting at willow wands and boat driving. Customs to ward off evil include hanging certain plants that lead to bringing luck, such as calamus or mugwort in the family home to escape bad luck.
Eating customary Dragon Boat Festival fair: nearly everyone will eat sticky rice wrapped in corn leaves, known as Zongzi, and be drinking a potent local brew called realgar.
Customs associated with health: bathing in orchid water, taking Chinese herbs and eliminating poisonous or bad elements, and so on.
Entertainment activities: amongst these are performing or watching typical operas and rowing dry dragon boats.
The customs of the Dragon Boat Festival in the hometown of the poet, Qu Yuan in Zigui County, Hubei Province are more detailed. Here, Dragon Boat Festival is held three times during the lunar month of May.
On May the fifth, locals hang out the calamus or mugwort and drink realgar alcohol to chase away evil. On the fifteenth, they hold a typical dragon boat competition. On the twenty-fifth, families and relatives gather together and carry out various activities to ward off illness and diseases.
In particular, farmers in Zigui County take part in a spontaneous literary poetic gathering, where they sing, recite and otherwise enjoy themselves. These folk customs have a history going back at least four hundred years.
The Dragon Boat Festival is an important symbolic event, which also allows ordinary Chinese people to commune with nature and the universe, and has become an indispensable part of the Chinese folk calendar.
From the mysts of the past right-down to the modern day, it has afforded a special means of communication and dialogue between people and nature, and has always been a source of affection and good wishes for local people.
This much loved celebration plays a unique role in helping to create a harmonious social environment and improving the relations between human beings and their natural environment. In this way, it has become an irreplaceable culture symbol of the Chinese nation.
The Dragon Boat Festival helps to forge a sense of fellowship, as well as fermenting local and national pride. In addition, it serves to enhance the coherence of social groups and sectors through strengthening of cultural identity. On December the fourteenth, 2007, the Dragon Boat Festival was declared a national holiday by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government has long placed great importance on protecting the folk customs of the Dragon Boat Festival. And in the coming years, the government will invest additional funding to support folk customs, traditional activities associated with the Dragon Boat Festival.
These efforts into strengthened study and protection of the Dragon Boat Festival can further publicize the cultural elements associated with it, while, at the same time, fully respecting the traditions and feelings of different interest groups, areas and communities towards this magnificent and unique celebration.
- 「建立、累積、打造」-Build Up
But people born and brought up in this Yangtze River area had also "built up" a rich store of culture.
- 「根據」- According To
By 2,500 years ago, the Dragon Boat Festival had gradually become one of China's traditional festivals, held each May 5, according to the lunar calendar.
- 「避開、防止」- Ward Off
Chief amongst these were the elimination of diseases, the chasing away of the evil spirits and the "warding off" of natural disasters.
- 「紀念」- In Memory of
These include sacrifices made "in memory of" Chinese historical figures.
- 「另外、此外」- In Addition
In addition, various other competitive folk games and activities take place, such as shooting at willow wands and boat driving.
- 「驅走、趕走」- Chase Away
On May the fifth, locals hang out the calamus or mugwort and drink realgar alcohol to "chase away" evil.
- 「從事、執行」- Carry Out
On the twenty-fifth, families and relatives gather together and "carry out" various activities to ward off illness and diseases.
- 「尤其是、特別是」- In Particular
"In particular", farmers in Zigui County take part in a spontaneous literary poetic gathering, where they sing, recite and otherwise enjoy themselves.
- 「參與、出席」- Take Part in
In particular, farmers in Zigui County take part in a spontaneous literary poetic gathering, where they sing, recite and otherwise enjoy themselves.