Dragon Boat Festival

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By Melody Gao ’20

Don’t have any plans for your summer yet? Well, it’s time to try something new! Celebrate The Dragon Boat Festival to start off your vacation!

The Dragon Boat Festival originated in China. It’s on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. With that being said, in the Western calendar, the date of The Dragon Boat Festival will change every year. This year, 2018, The Dragon Boat Festival is on the 18th of June.

The purpose of celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival is for the coming of summer and also to remember a famous poet named QuYuan. QuYuan was born in 340 B.C. At a young age, he worked as a minister of the emperor. He was loyal and competent, greatly loved and esteemed by the people. He could always give good advice to the emperor. However, the aristocrats did not like that; they didn’t want QuYuan to tell the emperor what to do. They thought he wanted to take power from the emperor.

Shortly after, QuYuan was exiled to the river valleys. During the time he was exiled, he started to write poems. Many of his poems remain popular to the present day, and have had a profound impact.

In 278 BC, QuYuan heard Qin’s army conquer the capital of QuYuan’s home country. In grief, he held a stone with his arm, threw himself into the Miluo River and committed suicide. People were very sad when they heard that because they loved him so much. They gathered together rowing boats in  the Miluo River looking for QuYuan’s dead body. They also threw rice balls into the river to prevent the animals from eating QuYuan’s dead body.

There are many ways you can celebrate The Dragon Boat Festival. Typically, people race boats that are decorated to look like dragons and eat ‘ZongZi’. ZongZi is mainly made of rice. You can add something else depending on what you like. It can be made sweet or salty. You can put in things like meat or mushrooms to make it have a saltier taste. On the other hand, you can put red bean paste or red dates to make ZongZi taste sweet. Try ‘ZongZi’ today; you can easily find it in any Asian store.


Poem by Tu Fu, another poet from QuYuan’s time:

Sent to LiPa as a gift


Autumn comes,

We meet each other.

You still whirl about as a thistle down in the wind.

You Elixir of Immortality is not yet prefected

And, remembering Ko Huang, you are ashamed.

You drink a great deal,

You sing wild songs,

Your days pass I emptiness.

Your nature is a spreading fire,

It is swift and strenuous.

But what does all this bravery amount to?


Here’s a Chinese version of the poem:

唐 · 杜甫