The 2020 Dragon Boat Festival or the Duanwu Festival is over 2,000 years old, originating in China and celebrated over the three-day weekend. In today’s celebrations, the main event is. . . you guessed it, the racing of long wooden boats, decorated and shaped like a dragon. These boats typically hold 30 people or more, paddling in sequence to the beat of their onboard drum, against other similar teams of dragon boats. There are some really fun videos on YouTube of today’s events held all over the world. Though customs vary widely by region, typical festivities include: costumes, music, decorations, different traditional rice dishes, Realgar wine and my favorite-dancing!
Last year my son brought home some fun Dragon Boat art projects even though the festival was after school let out for the year. It would be fun to hear more about the legends discussed in school in regards to the festival and it’s origination. I say this, because the best known legends of why the festivals began are a bit grim. One story commemorates the life of a patriotic Chinese Poet who drowned himself in the river, Qu Yuan (340–278 BC). He did this after learning that another state-Chi had taken control of his state-Chu’s capital city during the period of the warring states. When the local people heard of Qu’s death, they rowed out to search the river for his body. Because the villagers were unsuccessful at finding Qu’s body, they throw rice into the river hoping the fish would eat that instead of Qu’s body and they dumped Realgar wine into the river to ward off any lurking sea-monsters. Yikes!
Here is one of my favorite videos done by National Geographic, on this yearly event!