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Taiwan Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

Date: 2024/6/10 [6/8-6/10 for three-day holidays in Taiwan]

Dragonboat Festival
Dragon Boat (Photo: xcatx)

The Dragon Boat Festival is a significant Chinese festival which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Its origin was to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan. This festival is one of the three major celebrated festivals in Taiwan, together with Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival. Out of all major Taiwan festivals, Dragon Boat Festival has the longest history with many stories telling its origin. The most popular one is about the patriotic poet- Qu Yuan.During the declination of China in the end of the Zhou Dynasty, Qu Yuan served as a minister to the Zhou Emperor. Qu Yuan was a wise and articulate man well loved by the people. The fights that he had against the rampant corruption made the other officials envy him. The officials started spreading rumors of Qu Yuan in front of the emperor and eventually Qu Yuan had lost the emperor’s trust. Qu Yuan then got exiled when he urged to avoid conflict with the Kingdom of Qing. He travelled and wrote poems during his exile to. He threw himself into Milou River after he heard that Zhou was being defeated by the Qing.

During the day of the Dragon Boat festival, there are various beliefs and traditions that ethnic Chinese do, such as racing dragon boats, eating glutinous rice dumplings (Zhongzi), hanging calamus and moxa on the front door, drinking concoctions,displaying portraits of Zhong Kuei, children wearing fragrant sachets, as well as standing an egg at 12:00 noon. The Dragon Boat Festival is highlighted by the dragon boat races, which was originally meant to the attempts to rescue Qu Yuan.This lively and colorful tradition continued for centuries. Today, dragon boat races are held in various Taiwan cities such as Hsinchu, Tainan, Taipei, and Yilan, etc.

Zhongzi (Photo: Claire)

Other than enjoying dragon boat races, people eat Zhongzi (rice dumpling), which is a glutinous rice ball wrapped in corn leaves with fillings of egg, beans, walnuts, mushrooms, and meat. Travelers may find Zhongzi as a common delicacy in Taiwan,taste differently in different area of Taiwan. On the Dragon Boat Festival, hanging portraits of Zhong Kuei, calamus, and moxa on the front door are believed to keep evils away and bring peace. Overall, the Dragon Boat Festival is not only a festival to commemorate a patriot, but also a chance for families and friends to get together.

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