Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

Chinese traditional festival - Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival in Chinese is 端午节(Duānwǔ jié). It is on the fifth of May of lunar calendar. There are many legends about this traditional festival and the most popular one is “屈原 (Qū Yuán)QuYuan,” who was a Chinese scholar and minister to the King of State of Chu during the Warring States period. He was famous for his loyalty to the state.

It was said that on the fifth of May of lunar calendar, “屈原 (Qū Yuán) QuYuan,” who was banished by the king, killed himself by jumping into the MiLuo River. After his death, one of his townsmen had a dream. He dreamed that “屈原 (Qū Yuán) QuYuan” was thinner than before. So he and his villagers made “粽子 (zòngzi)” by wrapping glutinous rice with reed or bamboo leaves. Then they loaded the “粽子 (zòngzi)” on dragon boat and dropped them into the river. Because dragon was in charge of all the animals in the sea, so they didn’t dare to eat “粽子 (zòngzi).” So they figured that “屈原 (Qū Yuán) QuYuan” could eat “粽子 (zòngzi)” and get healthier.
Later on, people also say “dress like a ‘粽子 (zòngzi),’ ” which refers to people who wrap themselves from head to foot, just like “粽子 (zòngzi) !”

Wearing a Sachet on Dragon Boat Festival

It’s widely known that people enjoy “粽子 (zòngzi) rice dumplings” and “赛龙舟 (sài lóngzhōu) dragon-boat races” during the annual Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, but amongst all the customs, the most elegant one is surely the making and adorning of a sachet.

Wearing a Sachet on Dragon Boat Festival

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the fifth month (aka month of Poison) and fifth day on the lunar calendar marks the emergence of many poisonous insects. To ward them off, people hang wormwood, drink realgar wine, and “戴香包 (dài xiāngbāo) wear a sachet.”
The sachet, a small bag full of various spices, came about in ancient times when people used realgar and wormwood to repel insects. It grew in popularity when it became symbolic of a woman’s great skill in selecting a variety of cloths and designs for making the sachets that were expected to protect and keep their children safe. Nowadays, venders during the Chinese dragon boat festival sell sachets just about everywhere. Likewise, customers buy them for the same reasons as they were originally used for long ago: in hopes for peace and happiness…and less bites from hungry pests.

A Chinese Ballad about the Dragon Boat Festival
A Chinese Ballad about the Dragon Boat Festival

Táo’r hóng,
桃儿   红,
The peach is red.

Xìng’r huáng,
杏儿    黄,
The apricot is yellow.

Wǔyuè chūwǔ shì duānyáng.
五月     初五     是      端阳。
May the fifth of the lunar calendar is the Dragon Boat Festival.

Zòngzi xiāng,
粽子      香,
The rice dumplings are delicious,

Bāo wǔ liáng.
包    五   粮。
They include five grains.

Bāo gè zòngzi guǒshàng táng,
包    个    粽子     裹上        糖,
Make a rice dumpling and add sugar to it.

Xìngfú shēnghuó wàn nián cháng.
幸福          生活      万      年     长!
The happy life will last forever.

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