On the Dragon Boat Festival
May the fifth Dragon Boat Festival; mugwort on the door perfuming the house; sticky rice dumplings sprinkle on the sugar; merrily, dragon boats go into the water.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. There are many different versions of the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival. Among them, the most well known one is in the commemoration of the death of Qu Yuan, an upright and honest statesman in ancient China.
The Qin army breached the Chu capital in 278 BCE. Qu Yuan seeing his motherland invaded was devastated. On May 5th, after writing his final piece, “Embracing Sand,” he threw himself, clasping a giant bolder, into the Miluo River and died.
Legend has it that after Qu Yuan died the people of Chu where extremely grief stricken, coming one after another to the Miluo River to pay their respects, rowing boats back and forth across the river in hope of recovering his body. In order to stop the fish, crabs and crayfish from eating his corpse people chucked rice balls, eggs and other foodstuffs into the river.
Hereafter, annual dragon boat races, the eating of sticky rice dumplings and other customs, on May fifth of the lunar calendar, came into being to commemorate this patriot and poet who is Qu Yuan.