Dragon Boat Festival
Every year our China office is shut for one day in June for the Dragon Boat Festival. When we asked what actually happens on this public holiday – a couple of team members from China put this together for us!
The festival commemorates the death of the great poet and patriot Qu Yuan (Chu Dynasty), who committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River when he heard the emperor of Chu dynasty was captured.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him, or at least retrieve his body. This is said to have been the origin of Dragon Boat Race.
When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan’s body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi (Made from rice), “zongzi” has a very different taste, salty-rice + pork, sweet – rice + sweetened bean paste.
Nowadays, racing boat and eating “zongzi” are still festival customs, but I think the meaning of it has changed. Because most of us have a lot of stress from working, studying or living, so boat racing is more of a relaxing activity between friends, and a reflection of the spirit of collaboration.
Besides, almost every family will eat “zongzi”, and some family will make home-made “zongzi” together while chatting, closer to each other. Especially for those of us who do not work in our own city, we return to our hometowns and enjoy a reunion with our families.