Celebrate Dragon Boat Festival 2020
Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, is a traditional and important celebration in China.
Dragon Boat Festival 2020 falls on June 25th (Thursday). China will have 3 days of holiday from Thursday (June 25th) to Saturday (June 27th), and we will be back at work on Sunday, June 28th
Simple Facts to Understand the Dragon Boat Festival
- Chinese: 端午节 Duānwǔ Jié /dwann-woo jyeah/ ‘start [of the] fifth traditional solar month festival’
- Date: month 5 day 5 of the Chinese lunar calendar
- History: over 2,000 years
- Celebrations: dragon boat racing, health-related customs, honoring Qu Yuan and others
- Popular festival food: sticky rice dumplings (zongzi)
When is the Dragon Boat Festival 2020?
The Dragon Boat Festival date is based on the lunar calendar, therefore the date varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar.
Dragon Boat Festival Dates (2019–2022)
What Is China’s Dragon Boat Festival?
It’s a traditional festival full of traditions and superstitions, maybe originating from dragon worship; an event on the sporting calendar; and a day of remembrance/worship for Qu Yuan, Wu Zixu, and Cao E.
The festival has long been a traditional holiday in China.
Why Dragon Boat Racing is Held for the Day?
Dragon boat racing is said to originate from the legend of people paddling out on boats to seek the body of patriotic poet Qu Yuan (343–278 BC), who drowned himself in a River.
Dragon boat racing is the most important activity during the Dragon Boat Festival.
The wooden boats are shaped and decorated in the form of a Chinese dragon. The boat size varies by region. Generally, it is about 20–35 meters in length and needs 30–60 people to paddle it.
During the races, dragon boat teams paddle harmoniously and hurriedly, accompanied by the sound of beating drums. It is said that the winning team will have good luck and happy life in the following year.
Where to See Dragon Boat Racing?
Dragon boat racing has become an important competitive sport. Many places in China hold dragon boat races during the festival. Here we recommend the four most ceremonious places.
A dragon boat in the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival: Victoria Harbor, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Yueyang International Dragon Boat Festival: Yueyang Prefecture, Hunan Province
Guizhou Dragon Canoe Festival of the Miao Ethnic People: Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province
Hangzhou Dragon Boat Festival: Xixi National Wetland Park, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province
How Chinese People Celebrate the Festival?
Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival) is a folk festival celebrated for over 2,000 years when Chinese people practice various customs thought to dispel disease, and invoke good health.
Some of the most traditional customs include dragon boat racing, eating sticky rice dumplings (zongzi), hanging Chinese mugwort and calamus, drinking realgar wine, and wearing perfume pouches.
Now many of the customs are disappearing, or no longer observed. You are more likely to find them practiced in rural areas.
Eating Sticky Rice Dumplings
Zongzi (粽子zòngzi /dzong-dzuh/) is the most traditional Dragon Boat Festival food. It is related to Qu Yuan commemoration, as the legend says that lumps of rice were thrown into the river to stop fish eating his drowned body.
They are a kind of sticky rice dumpling made of glutinous rice filled with meats, beans, and other fillings.
Zongzi is wrapped in triangle or rectangle shapes in bamboo or reed leaves and tied with soaked stalks or colorful silky cords.
The flavors of zongzi are usually different from one region to another across China. Read more on Zongzi.
Drinking Realgar Wine
There is an old saying: ‘Drinking realgar wine drives diseases and evils away!’ Realgar wine is a Chinese alcoholic drink consisting of fermented cereals and powdered realgar.
In ancient times, people believed that realgar was an antidote for all poisons, and effective for killing insects and driving away evil spirits. So everyone would drink some realgar wine during the Duanwu Festival.
Learn more about Dragon Boat Festival Food.
Wearing Perfume Pouches
Before Dragon Boat Festival arrives, parents usually prepare perfume pouches for their children.
They sew little bags with a colorful silk cloth, fill the bags with perfumes or herbal medicines, and then string them with silk threads.
During Dragon Boat Festival perfume pouches are hung around kids’ necks or tied to the front of a garment as an ornament. The perfume pouches are said to protect them from evil.
Hanging Chinese Mugwort and Calamus
The Dragon Boat Festival is held at the start of summer when diseases are more prevalent. Mugwort leaves are used medicinally in China.
Their fragrance is very pleasant, deterring flies and mosquitoes. Calamus an aquatic plant that has similar effects.
On the fifth day of the fifth month, people usually clean their houses, courtyards, and hang mugwort and calamus on doors lintels to discourage diseases. It is also said hanging mugwort and calamus can bring good luck to the family.
How Did Dragon Boat Festival Start?
There are many legends about the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival. The most popular one is in commemoration of Qu Yuan.
Qu Yuan (340–278 BC) was a patriotic poet and exiled official during the Warring States Period of ancient China.
He drowned himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month, when his beloved Chu State fell to the State of Qin.
Local people desperately tried to save Qu Yuan or recover his body, to no avail.
In order to commemorate Qu Yuan, every fifth day of the fifth lunar month people beat drums and paddle out in boats on the river as they once did to keep fish and evil spirits away from his body.