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Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival comes on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, and has the longest history among the festivals celebrated in China.

Ancient Chinese believed the day of Duanwu was unluchy because midsummerwas just around the corner. The hot weather used to bring various diseases, which could spread rampantly. Dispelling disease and driving out evil were the main purpose of the festival. People would hang the picture of Zhong Kui, calamus and moxa in their houses and carry a spice bag around with them. People would also have Dragon Boat Races, eat Zong Zi.  

Zong Zi

Qu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 BC. Since ancient times, Chinese people threw into the water dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves on the day. Therefore the fish would eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eating Zong Zi.

The taste of Zongzi varies greatly across China. Zongzi is often made of rice mixed with dates in Northern China, because dates are abundant in the area. Eastern China's Jiaxing County is famous for its pork-stuffed Zongzi. In the southern Province of Guangdong, people stuff Zongzi with pork, ham, chestnuts and other ingredients, making them very rich in flavor. In Sichuan Province, Zongzi is usually served with a sugar dressing.

Dragon Boat Race

The main event of the festivities is the Dragon Boat Race. These boats are long and thin with dragon heads on the bow of the ships. In Chinese tradition, the dragon boats attempt to rescue the patriotic poet, Qu Yuan. Subsequently, dragon boat race becomes necessary part of the festival. On that day, dragon boat races are held to the sounds of thunderous drum beats. With five downs and ups the boats commence their journey in the sound of memoriam. Racing teams row vigorously, sprinting forward to reach the finish line.

Hanging Pictures of Zhong Kui

Zhong Kui is the exorcist par excellence. His picture, a fierce-looking male brandishing a magic sword, used to be hung up in Chinese houses in order to scare away evil spirits and demons, especially in the time of Dragon Boat Festival.

Hanging Calamus and Moxa

On this day, most of the families would also hang calamus and moxa (oriental plants) on the front door. This is also to ward off evil.

Realgar Wine

It is a very popular practice to drink this kind of Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar at the Dragon Boat Festival. This is for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year.

Spice Bag

It's believed that spice bag will not only drive away evil spirits but also bring fortune and happiness to those who wear it. The small bags are hand-made with red, yellow, green and blue silk, fine satin or cotton. Figures of animals, flowers and fruits are often embroidered onto the bags and inside are mixed Chinese herbal medicines.

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