The Dragon Boat Festival, also often known as the Duanwu Festival, is a traditional and statutory holiday originating in China. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar, the source of its alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival.
Dragon boat racing is said to originate from the legend of people paddling out on boats to seek the body of patriotic poet Qu Yuan (343–278 BC), who drowned himself in the Miluo River.
There are many legends about the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival. The most popular one is in commemoration of Qu Yuan.
Qu Yuan (340–278 BC) was a patriotic poet and exiled official during the Warring States Period of ancient China. He drowned himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month, when his beloved Chu State fell to the State of Qin.
Local people desperately tried to save Qu Yuan or recover his body, to no avail. In order to commemorate Qu Yuan, every fifth day of the fifth lunar month people beat drums and paddle out in boats on the river as they once did to keep fish and evil spirits away from his body.
Dragon boat racing is the most important activity during the Dragon Boat Festival.The boat size varies by region. Generally it is about 20–35 meters in length and needs 30–60 people to paddle it.
During the races, dragon boat teams paddle harmoniously and hurriedly, accompanied by the sound of beating drums. It is said that the winning team will have good luck and a happy life in the following year.
Duanwu Festival is a folk festival celebrated for over 2,000 years, when Chinese people practice various customs thought to dispel disease, and invoke good health.0