Like any other festive occasion, the Dragon
Boat Festival has also got its unique customs and traditions. Every year,
these are performed by millions of the Chinese population. TheHolidaySpot
attempts to introduce you to some of the most popular customs related to the
Dragon Boat Festival. Go through these and familiarize yourself with this
grand Chinese festival. If you want to have your friends know about these
fascinating Dragon Boat Festive traditions, click here
to refer this article to them. Have a great Double Fifth Day!
The Dragon Boat Race is perhaps the most important part of "Duan Wu
Jie". Every year, hundreds of boats are brightly painted and
decorated beautifully to make them ready for the annual regatta that
is held during the time of Double Fifth celebrations.
these range anywhere from 40 to 100 feet in length, with wooden
heads shaped like open-mouthed dragons fitted at the front, and a
scaly tail attached to the stern. Depending on the length, up to 80
rowers can power these boats. A drummer and flag-catcher stand at
the front of the boat. Prior to the entry of a dragon boat in the
competition, it must be "brought to life" by painting the eyes in a
sacred ceremony. Races can have any number of boats competing.
Competing teams row their boats forward to a drumbeat racing to
reach the finish end first, with the the first team to grab a flag
at the end of the course being declared the winner.
Dragon Boat races are the most exciting part of the "Duan Wu Jie",
and draw a huge number of spectators each year. Annual races take
place all over China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and other overseas
Chinese communities. Dragon boat Racing is now an international
sport and is now held in many major nations of the world.
The Dragon Boat Festival is supposed to commemorate the suicide of
Qu Yuan, the great patriot and China's first poet, on the fifth day
of the fifth lunar month in 277 BC. It is believed that immediately
after Qu Yuan's offering of himself to the Miluo river,
local Chinese people threw into the water dumpling made of glutinous
rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves so that the fish would not
touch the bosy of their beloved poet and rather spend their energy
in eating the rice. The modern custom of eating Zong Zi (bamboo leaf
wrapped steamed rice dumplings) and throwing them into the water is
believed to have developed from this ancient activity.
Zongzi is now the the traditional food for the Dragon Boat Festival.
These glutinous rice balls come in different shapes - generally
triangular or pyramidal, and with a variety of fillings - such as
egg, beans, dates, fruits, sweet potato, walnuts, mushrooms, meat,
or a combination of them. The fillings are generally steamed. Dates
form the most popular fillings.
The drinking of Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar (a rare soft
orange mineral consisting of arsenic sulphide) is a very popular
practice during the Dragon Boat Festival. The ancient tradition of
drinking Xiong Huang Wine has turned into this modern custom. This
is for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year.
During Double Fifth time, adults and children in China carry with
them fragrant silk pouches filled with spices. Hand-made by local
craftsmen, these small spice bags of silk, fine satin or cotton are
commonly believed to perform the dual function of scaring evil
spirits away and also as a lucky charm in bringing happiness and
prosperity to its wearers. These are still used today in the
country. Skilled craftsmen often embellish these bags by
embroidering onto them figures of different shapes, like that of
animals, flowers and fruits. Chinese herbal medicines are also
sometimes added to the spices inside the bags for added effect.
Pictures of Zhong Kui
The image of Zhong Kui can commonly be found upon Chinese doors,
especially in the time of Dragon Boat Festival. In the days leading
to "Duan Wu Jie", a picture of the fierce-looking Zhong Kui(or Chung
Kuei) brandishing a magic sword is hanged on the door of many
Chinese homes. Zhong Kui is a figure of Chinese mythology and
traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings.
The custom is believed to grant one protection from evil for the
rest of the year.