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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Duanwu Festival, or Dragon Boat Festival

Today, June 08, 2008 is Duanwu Festival, or popularly called Dragon Boat Festival. Duanwu Festival falls on the fifth date of the fifth month of Chinese lunar calendar. So each each year' Duanwu Festival has its different date due to the dynamic beginning of the Chinese lunar new year. This year's Duanwu Festival falls on June 08, 2008.

Our central government has designated Duanwu Festival as a National Holiday starting from the year 2008 as a kind of active measure to promote and protect the Chinese traditonal culture. For the Dwuan Festival, people enjoy one day for holiday. For this year's Dwuanwu Festival, people also have one-no-work-day on June 09 since June 08 is Sunday. So people don't have to work on June 09 ( Monday), 2008. It is really a good idea to set Duanwu Festival as a legal national holiday to carry on our Chinese traditional culture. This morning, I say hello to my Son - Li Rui and asked him about some knowledge of the origin of Dwuanwu Festival. His answer is quite disappointing and betrays the need for the protecton of Chinese traditional holiday on a national level.

The Duanwu Festival originated in ancient China with a history over 2000 years. There are quite a few of theories relative its origins. Today, the most commonly accepted story is linked to the death of poet Qu Yuan in 278 BC. There are, however, more competing theories. The great poet Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC - 278 BC) lived in the ancient state of Chu, in the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty. A son of the Chu royal family, Qu served in high position at royal office. However, when the king planned to co-operate with the daily increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu Yuan was driven away from his own state for being against the alliance. In his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great number of poems, which made he remembered by people generation after generation. Finally Qin conquered the Chu capital 28 years later. Wrapped in despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth month of Chinese lunar year. It is said that the local people, with great love for him, threw food into the river to feed the fish keeping Qu Yuan from being eatenby the fish. Later every, people began to serve fish with dumpling wrapped in leaves. This is also said to be the origin of zongzi - the rice dumpling with fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves. Later to either to scare the fish away or to retrieve Qu's body, people hold a festival competition with the special Dragon Boat. This is also said to be the origin of dragon boat racing. So during Duanwu Festival, people usually do two things - Eating Zongzi and having dragon boat racing to commemorate Qu Yuan.

The decision of setting Duanwu Festival as a China' public holiday has encouraged the spread of Chinese traditional culture. Later this morning I went to Baoguosi Temple and happened to attend an event going on in the last hall of the temple in memory of Quyuan. Most of the participants are young people wearing Han Chinese clothes!! Later I got to know they are all Han Chinese clothes lovers, coming here for a meeting commemorating Quyuan. They want to commemorate Quanyuan to prosper the traditional culture as well as reviving the wear of Han Chinese clothes as a national and traditional clothes. Yes, each country has its own traditional clothes. What are Chinas' traditional clothes? About 360 years ago we Chinese had to wear the Manchuria constumes. Later I find there is currently a movement at home and broad in Chinese communities to revive Han Chinese clothing in everyday life and incorporate in Chinese festivals or celebration. I am happy to see that with the improving of people living standard, people will pay more attention to the traditional culture and inner world.

Reading the poems written by Qu Yuan
Reading the poems written by Qu Yuan

Play flute to the tune of Qu Yuan' times
Play flute to the tune of Qu Yuan' times

Young people wearing Han Chinese clothes
Young people wearing Han Chinese clothes

The Commemorating Meeting of Qu Yuan
The Commemorating Meeting of Qu Yuan

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