A poet/ An activity/ the 21st century
The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the longest celebrated Chinese traditional holidays and has been celebrated for more than 2,000 years. Many legends circulate around the festival but the most popular is the legend of famed poet "Qu Yuan”.
A patriotic poet
Because of the political atmosphere around 270 B.C., rather than seeing his beloved country be conquered by opposing forces, Qu Yuan threw himself into the river and drowned himself. Upon hearing of Qu Yuan’s death, all the local people nearby were in great distress. Fishermen searched for his body by sailing their boats down the river and other people threw food such as eggs and food like zongzi into the river to attract fish and other animals from destroying Qu Yuan’s body. Later, many people imitated these acts to show their respect for this great patriotic poet and this practice continues today.
Because Qu Yuan died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, people decided to commemorate him on that day every year. Many traditional customs and activities are held on the specified day by the Chinese people and even by some people in China’s neighboring countries. People would have boat races, make the traditional food—Zongzi (pyramid-shaped glutinous rice wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves), wear a perfume pouch and hang mugwort leaves and calamus.
Dragon Boat Racing
Dragon Boat Racing is in remembrance of the villagers who took their boats in search of Qu Yuan.The dragon boat is named because of the front and rear of the boat is in the shape of the Mythical Dragon. It is said in these races that the winning team would bring good luck and a great harvest to their family and village.
Today Dragon Boat Racing is an International sport, over 50 countries (from New Zealand, Australia, Africa, England, Canada, S. America, Japan,Thailand, Korea and of course the Originator China) take part in annual Dragon Boat competitions with more than 50 million participants world wide.Dragon Boat Racing has become so popular that it is second only to football or soccer in having the most populus or most participants.
Special thank goes to Tanz Chalmers, an American teacher, who is currently teaching at No. 47 Middle School in Zhengzhou. He made intensive study of the topic.Thanks for his great contribute!