The Beautiful Duanwu Festival is Celebrated with Splendor


Since 2008, the Dragon Boat Festival has been recognized as an official holiday inChina. People participate in Dragon Boat racing and many other activities and this is one of the oldest festivals celebrated inChina. It is so old that today no one is absolutely sure about the origins of this festival. There are many stories surrounding its beginnings but none of them is conclusive enough. But the festival is among the most important festivals celebrated in the country today which is marked by festivities and joy.

Duanwu Festival and its Popularity

The Duanwu Festival involves one of the most popular celebrations in China. This festival has only recently been recognized as the state festival in mainland China. It is also hugely popular in Taiwan, Singaporeand Malaysia. This festival occurs in June and hence many students in the country during that time can participate in one of the oldest festivals. In the Chinese calendar, it occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month in a year. However this date translates to dates in June which are 10 to 20 days apart. The dates change every year; for example, the festival fell on June6 in 2011, June23 in 2012 and will fall on June12 in 2013.

The Duanwu Festival celebrates the ‘mid-summer’ inEast Asiawhere the day is the longest. The sun represents masculine energy and it is directly linked with the dragon which is also a symbol for masculine energy. Hence it is also popularly known as the Dragon Boat Festival. The festival is symbolic of energy and is marked by a number of activities. The most notable among them is the race of the Dragon boats which has become exceedingly popular with the locals as well as tourists alike.

If one visits Chinaon study abroad programs or gap year jobs during this period, he or she will be able to see the festivities in full swing. The dragon boat race is the most prominent form of celebration.

The dragon boat race is the most prominent form of celebration.

However there are two more signature festivities which mark the celebration. The first one involves relishing the delicious traditional “Zongzi” which is a form of rice pudding prepared especially for the occasion.

“Zongzi” which is a form of rice pudding prepared especially for the occasion

One also gets to consume a special kind of wine called “Xionghuangjiu” that is also a traditional drink.

People use perfumed medicine bags and take long walks, taking a break from their busy schedules and spending time with their loved ones. People also create effigies of Zhong Kui, who is a mythical guardian figure, which are hung on common wormwood and calamus. A belief associated with this day is that if someone sets up an egg stand at noon, he or she will have good luck throughout the following year. This is the perfect occasion for those on China tours or learning Chinese in China to blend with the local population and get a firsthand experience of their beautiful culture.

common wormwood and calamus hung on a door

One strange fact of this festival remains which is that no one knows its origin. The most reliable information merely indicates that it originated in ancientChina. There are many theories about the origin and the most accepted one suggests that the festival is celebrated to mark the death of poet Qu Yuan.

Qu Yuan (339 BCE – 278 BCE) was a great Chinese poet.

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