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Our 3-Day Holidays for The Dragon Boat Festival

2016-06-07


All the staff of Guangzhou Heng Yi CNC Machines Factory just enjoyed 3-day holidays from May 28 to May 30 for the Dragon Boat Festival - a Chinese traditional festival.

Herewith we'd like to share this festival information with you.

The Dragon Boat Festival(Duanwu Festival in Mandarin) is a traditional and statutory holiday associated with Chinese cultures, though it is celebrated in other east Asian societies as well. It is a public holiday in Taiwan, where it is known by the Mandarin name "Duānwǔ Jié", and in the special Chinese municipalities of Hong Kong and Macau, where it is known by the Cantonese name "Tuen Ng Jit". In 2008 Duānwǔ Jié was officially restored in China, after years of suppression by China's Communist government.

The festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar on which the Chinese calendar is based. This is the source of the alternative name of Double Fifth. In 2009 this falls on May 28 and in 2010 on June 16. The focus of the celebrations includes eating Zongzi(Glutinous Rice Dumpling), which are large rice wraps, drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats.

Activities on The Dragon Boat Festival
Three of the most widespread activities for the Duanwu Festival are eating (and preparing) zongzi, an angular rice ball wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves; drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats.

Racing Dragon Boat 1       Racing Dragon Boat 2       Zongzi(Glutinous Rice Dumplings)

Other common activities include hanging up icons of Zhong Kui (a mythic guardian figure), hanging up mugwort and calamus, taking long walks, and wearing perfumed medicine bags. Other traditional activities including a game of making an egg stand at noon, and writing spells. All of these activities, together with the drinking of realgar wine, were regarded by the ancients as effective in preventing disease or evil and promoting health and well-being.

In the early years of the Republic of China period, Duan Wu was also celebrated as "Poets' Day," due to Qu Yuan's status as China's first poet of well renown. In modern Taiwan, zong zi is no longer thrown into rivers, but people still eat them as a holiday tradition and testament to Qu Yuan's self-determination.

History and Romance of Dragon Boat Festival

Origins
The Duanwu Festival is believed to have originated in ancient China. A number of theories exist about its origins as a number of folk traditions and explanatory myths are connected to its observance. Today the best known of these relates to the suicide in 278 BC of Qu Yuan, poet and statesman of the Chu kingdom during the Warring States period.

Qu Yuan
The best-known traditional story holds that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC - 278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu, in the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty. A descendant of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance. Qu Yuan was accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry, for which he is now remembered. Twenty-eight years later, Qin conquered the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth month.

It is said that the local people, who admired him, threw food into the river to feed the fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi (glutinous rice dumpling). The local people were also said to have paddled out on boats, either to scare the fish away or to retrieve his body. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.

Wu Zixu
Despite the modern popularity of the Qu Yuan origin theory, in the former territory of the state of Wu the festival commemorated Wu Zixu (526 BC - 484 BC). Like Qu Yuan, Wu Zixu was a loyal advisor whose advice was ignored by the king to the detriment of the kingdom. Wu Zixu was forced to commit suicide by the king Fuchai, with his body thrown into the river on the fifth day of the fifth month. After his death, Wu Zixu was revered as a river god. In places such as Suzhou, in Jiangsu province, Wu Zixu is remembered during the Duanwu Festival to this day.

Pre-existing Holiday
Some modern researchers suggest that the stories of Qu Yuan or Wu Zixu were superimposed on a pre-existing holiday tradition.

The promotion of these stories over the earlier lore of the holiday seems to have been encouraged by Confucian scholars seeking to legitimize and strengthen their influence at a time when Buddhism, a foreign belief system, was gaining influence in China. The Records of the Grand Historian of that era relate to this.

Many traditional rituals of the Duanwu Festival emphasize the avoidance of disease. The desire to prevent health hazards associated with the mid-summer months may have been the primary original motive behind the holiday.

Another theory, advanced by Wen Yiduo, is that the Duanwu Festival had its origins in dragon worship. Support is drawn from two key traditions of the festival: the tradition of zongzi, or throwing food into the river, and dragon boat racing. The food may have originally represented an offering to the dragon king, while dragon boat racing naturally reflects reverence of the dragon and the active yang energy associated with it. This combines with the tradition of visiting friends and family on boats.

Another suggestion is that the festival celebrates a widespread feature of east Asian agrarian societies: the harvest of winter wheat. Offerings were regularly made to deities and spirits at such times: in the ancient Yue, dragon kings; in the ancient Chu, Qu Yuan; in the ancient Wu, Wu Zixu (as a river god); in ancient Korea, mountain gods (see Dano - Korean festival). As interactions between different regions increased, these similar festivals eventually merged into one holiday.

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