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Dragon Boat Festival

Celebrated in China, as well as other Southeast Asian countries, Dragon Boat Festival is on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. On this day, people eat sticky rice dumplings (zongzi/粽子) and participate in or watch dragon boats races.

The origins of this holiday is not known, but the most popular theory relates to the suicide of Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet of the Chu kingdom in 278 BC (the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty). Qu was a respected poet and statesman. When he learned that the king was planning an alliance with the Qin state, Qu was vocal about his opposition. His opposition, considered an act of treason, caused him to be exiled. It was during this time that he wrote many of the poems he is remembered for. When the state of Qin won victory of Chu years later, Qu Yuan committed suicide out of despair.

It is said that those that found his body in the river threw in handfuls of rice so the fish would not feed on his body, which is where the tradition of eating sticky rice dumplings 粽子 is considered to originate from.

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  • Category: Festivals
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