Taipei’s Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is a festival which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Its origin was to commemorate Qu Yuan.

Dragon boats

This year’s Dragon Boat Festival took place at 4 PM on June 9. The fair itself lasted through to Saturday, June 11th at the Dazhi Riverside Park. The park had transformed into a smorgasbord of stalls that had provided arts and crafts for children and adults alike.

The History of Dragon Boat

Qu Yuan (340–278 BC)
Qu Yuan

The Dragon Boat Festival history began over 2,100 years ago in China. The story begins with a poet named Qu Yuan. He lived during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty in China that lasted from 475 – 221 BC. He was a high-ranking official in the Chu royal house who disagreed with the king’s allegiance to another dynasty, the Qin. This led to his eventual exile from his beloved home and state.

More than twenty years later Qu Yuan discovered the Qin had conquered the capital of Chu, his hometown. In despair for the love of his birthplace and disdain for the corruption of the Qin, he drowned himself in the Miluo River as a ritual protest. The villagers raced out in boats to try and save Qu Yuan, but it was too late. They quickly threw balls of sticky rice into the river for the fish to eat instead of Qu Yuan’s body.

There are many different variations of this story, but they all relate to Qu Yuan sacrificing himself to protest the corruption of a country that led to the destruction of his hometown. His sacrifice then led to the yearly tradition of throwing food, mainly Zongzi, into the river to symbolize the peoples’ respect for Qu Yuan.

Zongzi, The Food of the Dragon Boat Festival

ZongziThe most traditional and popular food for the festival is Zongzi, or simply zong, which is made specifically for the event. It is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo, reed, or other large flat leaves.

They are cooked by steaming or boiling. The rice dish includes a few different fillings, such as mung beans, red bean paste, Chinese BBQ pork, Chinese sausage, pork fat, mushrooms, peanuts, chicken.

The Festivities of Dragon Boat

The most common practice shared all around Asia during the Dragon Boat Festival is, of course, racing dragon boats! As to Illustrate the historical race to try and save Qu Yuan from drowning, has evolved into a state-to-state sporting competition.

Dragon boat race to catch flag

Taipei hosted this large racing competition at the Dazhi Riverside Park, for countries from all over Asia. More than 200 teams compete in the Taipei International Dragon Boat Championship, which has a prize of $1 million!

Dragon boats in mid-race

Dragon boat race to finish

🗓️ Updated: June 2016 – Taipei.Expats

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