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Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival)

16 of June, 2010 - Hong Kong

The Duanwu Festival is (also known as Dragon Boat Festival) one of the most important festival in China. It is a traditional and formal holiday related to Chinese cultures, which it is celebrated in other East Asian and Southeast Asian societies as well. In 2008, the festival was restored in China as an official national holiday. The festival is also celebrated in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as in Singapore and Malaysia. The festival generally takes place on the fifth month’s fifth day according to the lunar calendar. Chinese calendar is has its base from the lunar calendar. This year it will be held on the 16th of June, 2010.

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the popular Chinese patriot, Qu Yuan. (Chu Yuan) who in the 3rd century in protest of a corrupt government threw himself into the Mi Lo River in despair. Upon hearing the news, local people frantically raced out in boats to save him, and to scare away any fish who might want to eat him pounded drums and threw rice into the river - but, sadly, they arrived too late. As legend has it, boat races and ceremonial sacrifices of rice were performed each year to symbolize the valiant attempts to rescue Qu Yuan. Today, rice dumplings or zongzi are eaten to symbolize the rice offerings on behalf of Qu Yuan.

The festival focus of the celebrations includes not only eating zongzi, but also drinking local wine, and racing dragon boats.Dragonboat racing is a traditional sports held at Duanwu Festival. Entire regattas of dragon boats compete to see who is the swiftest as individual rowing teams keep in time with drummers pounding out furious rhythms.Today, its influence seems to be greater than the holiday itself outside China. Many people consider it a great sport game that integrates strength, tempo, and teamwork. Additional traditional activities consists of hanging up image of Zhong Kui (a mythic custodian stature), hanging up mugwort as well as the calamus, going for a long distant walks, and further wearing aromatic medication bags.

Discover a significant part of Chinese traditions and dive in the wide range of traditional entertainment. Take a chance to see a colorful range of boats painted in bright colors of red, white, yellow and black, and a dozen men rowing them while keeping time to the drumbeats.In May 2009, the Chinese government nominated the festival for inclusion in UNESCO's global "Intangible Cultural Heritage" list, partly in response to South Korea's successful nomination of the Dano festival in 2005 which China criticised as "cultural robbery". This vibrant festival is a must-see if you happen to be in Hong Kong.

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