The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional holiday originating in China, occurring near the summer solstice. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, which commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan.
Dragon boat racing
Dragon boat racing has a rich history of ancient ceremonial and ritualistic traditions, which originated in southern central China more than 2500 years ago. The legend starts with the story of Qu Yuan, who was a minister in one of the Warring State governments, Chu. He was slandered by jealous government officials and banished by king. Out of disappointment in the Chu monarch, he drowned himself into the Miluo river. The common people rushed to the water and tried to recover his body. In commemoration of Qu Yuan, people hold dragon boat races yearly on the day of his death according to the legend. They also scattered rice into the water to feed the fish, to prevent them from eating Qu Yuan's body, which is one of the origins of zongzi.
Activities to celebrate the festival.
A notable part of celebrating Duanwu is making and eating zongzi with other family members. People traditionally wrap zongzi in leaves of bamboo, lotus or banana which give a special aroma and flavor to the sticky rice and fillings. Zongzi are considered as a symbol of luck.
Realgar wine or xionghuang wine is a Chinese alcoholic drink that is made from Chinese yellow wine dosed with powdered realgar, a yellow-orange arsenic sulfide mineral. Realgar is often used as a pesticide against mosquitoes and other insects during the hot summers, and as a common antidote against poison in ancient Asia.
In some regions of China, parents braid silk threads of 5 colors and put them on the their children's wrists, on the day of Duanwu. People believe that this will help keep bad spirits and disease away.