Traditional customs mark Dragon Boat Festival
Updated: 2015-06-17 10:26
Poet Qu Yuan in a painting.
It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also throughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a patriot poet during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), who committed suicide by flinging himself into the Miluo River in Central China's Hunan province after his mother kingdom fell into enemy rule.
Legend holds that people in boats raced to the site where he drowned and threw in zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves) so fish wouldn't feed on Qu's body.
Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is celebrated as the Dragon Boat Festival. People hold boat races and prepare zongzi in memory of Qu's righteousness and his beautiful poems.