The Dragon Boat Festival， also called the Duanwu Festival， is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. This festival is to commemorate the death of QU Yuan， an upright and honest poet and statesman who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.
The most important activity of this festival is the Dragon Boat races. It symbolizes people‘s attempts to rescue Qu Yuan. In the current period， these races also demonstrate the virtues of cooperation and teamwork.
Besides， the festival has also been marked by eating zong zi (glutinous rice)。 Zong zi is made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. People who mourned the death of Qu threw Zong zi into the river to feed his ghost every year.
With the changes of the times， the memorial turns to be a time for protection from evil and disease for the rest of year. People will hang healthy herbs on the front door to clear the bad luck of the house. Although the significance of the festival might be different with the past， it still gives the observer an opportunity to glimpse a part of the rich Chinese cultural heritage.
A Chinese holiday is gaining worldwide popularity 一个逐渐受到全球欢迎的中国节日
Some holidays are so much fun that they catch on outside of their culture. The most obvious example is probably Christmas, which is celebrated around the world by people who aren’t even Christian. Similarly, in recent years, the Dragon Boat Festival has moved beyond China to become an international holiday celebrated by people who may know little about the holiday’s origins。 有些节日实在是很有趣，所以在本土文化以外的地方也很受欢迎。最明显的例子可能就是圣诞节，世界各地的人都会庆祝圣诞节，即使是非基督徒。同样，最近几年端午节已经不局限于中国，成为国际性节日，而庆祝的人可能对节日的由来并不太了解。
The Dragon Boat Festival is one of three major Chinese holidays, along with the Spring and Moon Festivals. Of the three, it is possibly the oldest, dating back to the Warring States Period in 227 B.C. The festival commemorates Qu Yuan, a minister in the service of the Chu Emperor. Despairing over corruption at court, Qu threw himself into a river. Townspeople jumped into their boats and tried in vain to save him. Then, hoping to distract hungry fish from his body, the people scattered rice on the water。端午节与春节和中秋节并列为中国三大节日。这三个节日中，它可能是最古老的一个，可以追溯到公元前227年的战国时代。这个节日是为了纪念楚国的大夫屈原，他因为对朝廷的贪污腐败感到绝望而投河自尽。镇上的人纷纷冲上船去救他，却没有成功。后来大家把米撒到水里，希望把饥饿的鱼群从他的躯体边引开。
Over the years, the story of Qu’s demise transformed into the traditions of racing dragon boats and eating zongzi – a kind of rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. The races have certainly captured the imagination of people from all over the world. Every spring there are nearly 60 dragon boat races held outside of China in cities from Vancouver to Sydney, from Gdańsk, Poland to Cape Town, South Africa. Canada alone has nearly 50 dragon boat teams and Germany has nearly 30。
Dragon Boat Festival: 5th day of the 5th lunar month
The Dragon Boat Festival, also called the Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. For thousands of years, the festival has been marked by eating zong zi (glutinous rice(糯米)wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo or reed leaves) and racing dragon boats.
The festival is best known for its dragon-boat races, especially in the southern provinces where there are many rivers and lakes. This regatta(赛舟会)commemorates the death of Qu Yuan , an honest minister who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.
Qu was a minister of the State of Chu situated in present-day Hunan and Hubei provinces, during the Warring States Period (475-221BC)(战国时期). He was upright, loyal and highly esteemed for his wise counsel that brought peace and prosperity to the state. However, when a dishonest and corrupt prince vilified Qu, he was disgraced and dismissed from office. Realizing that the country was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, Qu grabbed a large stone and leapt into the Miluo River (汨罗江) on the fifth day of the fifth month. Nearby fishermen rushed over to try and save him but were unable to even recover his body. Thereafter, the state declined and was eventually conquered by the State of Qin.
The people of Chu who mourned the death of Qu threw rice into the river to feed his ghost every year on the fifth day of the fifth month. But one year, the spirit of Qu appeared and told the mourners that a huge reptile(爬行动物)in the river had stolen the rice. The spirit then advised them to wrap the rice in silk and bind it with five different-colored threads before tossing it into the river.
During the Duanwu Festival, a glutinous rice pudding called zong zi is eaten to symbolize the rice offerings to Qu. Ingredients such as beans, lotus seeds(莲子), chestnuts(栗子), pork fat and the golden yolk of a salted duck egg are often added to the glutinous rice. The pudding is then wrapped with bamboo leaves, bound with a kind of raffia and boiled in salt water for hours.
The dragon-boat races
The dragon-boat races symbolize the many attempts to rescue and recover Qu's body. A typical dragon boat ranges from 50-100 feet in length, with a beam of about 5.5 feet, accommodating two paddlers seated side by side.
A wooden dragon head is attached at the bow, and a dragon tail at the stern(船尾). A banner hoisted on a pole is also fastened at the stern and the hull is decorated with red, green and blue scales edged in gold. In the center of the boat is a canopied shrine behind which the drummers, gong(铜锣)beaters and cymbal(铙钹)players are seated to set the pace for the paddlers. There are also men positioned at the bow to set off firecrackers, toss rice into the water and pretend to be looking for Qu. All of the noise and pageantry creates an atmosphere of gaiety and excitement for the participants and spectators alike. The races are held among different clans, villages and organizations, and the winners are awarded medals, banners, jugs of wine and festive meals.