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HomeExpats in HaikouCountdown to Dragonboat...

Countdown to Dragonboat Festival, 4 days to go!

Dragonboat Festival dates back to the Warring States Period and is marked to remember Qu Yuan, one of China’s greatest ancient poets

According to the State Council’s “Notice on the Arrangement of Holidays in 2022” this year’s Dragon Boat Festival will take place from June 3rd to 5th, a total of 3 days holiday.

Did you know? 7 key facts about the Dragonboat Festival.

  1. Dragonboat festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month according to China’s lunar calendar (that’s May 25th to July 24th for 2022), which means that it’s held on a different date each year.
Qu Yuan 340 BC 278 BC a patriotic poet and a loyal official of the State of Chu during the Warring States period.
Rendering of Qu Yuan 340 BC 278 BC a poet and a official of the State of Chu during the Warring States period.
  1. It is generally believed that the origin of the Dragonboat Festival dates back to the Warring States Period and is marked to remember Qu Yuan, one of China’s greatest ancient poets who drowned himself in the Miluo river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month to protest a corrupt court.
  1. Legend has it that people throw zongzi into the river to feed Qu Yuan’s spirit, others say that they are meant to keep fish from feeding on Qu’s body.

Dragonboat festivities vary from region to region in China, but they usually share several features.  

The origin of Zongzi (Sticky Rice Dumpling) in China can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (approximately 771- 476 BC)
The origin of Zongzi (Sticky Rice Dumpling) in China can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (approximately 771- 476 BC)
Willow shooting is an ancient Chinese horseback archery competition whereby each archer tied a handkerchief on a twig making it his target. The archer shot an arrow and had to break the branch marked with the handkerchief.
Willow shooting is an ancient Chinese horseback archery competition whereby each archer tied a handkerchief to a twig making it his target. The archer shot an arrow and had to break the branch marked with the handkerchief.
  1. A memorial ceremony offering sacrifices to a local hero is combined with sporting events such as dragon races, dragon boating and willow shooting. Folk traditions include opera, songs and dances as well as eating rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves (Zongzi) and drinking wine. 
  1. Participants also ward off evil during the festival by bathing in flower-scented water, wearing five-coloured silk, hanging plants such as moxa (obtained from the dried leaves of a plant related to mugwort) and calamus over their doors, and pasting paper cut-outs in their windows.
  1. Dragonboat festival is a National/UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. In May 2009, China submitted an application to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to nominate the Dragon Boat Festival as an intangible cultural heritage. On October 30th, 2009, it was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Where to watch a Dragonboat race in Hainan?

Dragon-boat-race-held-at-Nanli-Lake
Dragonboat race held at Nanli Lake
  1. Dragonboat racing has a long history in Hainan, and most towns, villages and cities will hold a sporting events and festivities. In Chengmai, Wanning and Lingshui however, Dragonboat racing has become more of a professional and international sports event.

In recent years, Chengmai County has cooperated with the China Dragonboat Association and held the China Dragonboat Open which is a national level sports event, at the Nandujiang Section, Chengmai County, (copy and paste 海南省澄迈县南渡江段 into Baidu maps).  

Related article: The official 2022 holiday schedule is here!

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