Monday, June 6, 2011

Dragon Boat Festival

Today is Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie), a public holiday. Apparently it dates back to 278BC when Emperor Qin (he of Terracotta Warriors fame) conquered the Chu kingdom, forcing the Chu statesman and poet, Qu Yuan, to commit suicide by jumping into the Miluo River. He was a widely respected man so the local people went out in boats to throw rice dumplings into the water to stop the fish from eating his body. The boats and the dumplings have become part and parcel of the festivities., although we partook of neither. Interestingly, the festival only became a holiday again in 2008 after a gap of 60 years.

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