It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also
hroughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years. In 2006, the traditional festival was listed as part of China’s
national intangible cultural heritage. In 2008, it was recognized as a public holiday in the Chinese mainland.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chu state
official and poet who lived during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) before the reu
nification of China under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). He was exiled after opposing his king’s decision to ally wit
h the neighboring state of Qin, and when Chu was finally conquered by Qin, he
committed suicide by drowning in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
The Chu people, who admired Qu Yuan for his loyalty and integrity, th
rew rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat the body of their po
et hero. People then started dragon boat racing to scare off the fish.
Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is cel
brated as the Dragon Boat Festival. The following are some customs for the festival.
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