A Festival Not About Dragon

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tuen Ng (in Cantonese) or Duanwu (in Mandarin), is a traditional and statutory holiday originating in China.

The festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, it fell on June 20th this year, June 9th in 2016.

The story holds that the festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty. A cadet member of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him. This is said to have been the origin of dragon boat races. When Qu’s body could not be found, they beat on drums and splashed their oars in the water, dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu's body. This is said to be the origin of zong.

The festival was long marked as a festival culturally in China and is a public holiday in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Macau and some Chinese communities of southeast Asia.

Interesting enough, the Dragon Boat Race has become the world’s fastest growing water sport in the non-Chinese communities year after year, there are dragon boat races in the UK, Ottawa, San Francisco, Japan, Korea, Sydney and some European cities, it becomes a water sport that is good for team-building and charity. One will be amazed by finding races around the world on this dragonboat calendar http://www.dragonboatcalendar.com/ !!

What do we do celebrating Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong?

  • Racing dragon boats (less than 1% of Hong Kong people does this)

  • Watching dragon boat races

  • Swimming

  • Eating zong

It would be a wonderful experience when you next come to Hong Kong on the Dragon Boat Festival, especially when you find the Peak, Lan Kwai Fong no longer exciting.

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