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May 5, 2010

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, and forms one of the three major Chinese holidays. Since the summer is a time when diseases most easily spread, Dragon Boat Festival began as an occasion for driving off evil spirits and pestilence and for finding peace in one's life. The festival was later enriched by the legend of the patriot, Chu Yuan.

Chu Yuan was a patriotic statesman who lived in the state of Chu over 2,200 years ago during the Warring States period. He remonstrated with the King of Chu on many occasions, complaining about the state of the nation and trying to make a change. The King of Chu believed accounts of lesser officials, ignoring Chu. He felt he could no longer save the nation from the violence and political problems into which it had fallen. Chu Yuan killed himself by jumping into the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. His patriotism is remembered every year on this day. Since Chu Yuan was also a famous poet, the day is also known as Poet's Day.

Dragon boat races are where competing teams drive their boats forward rowing to the rhythm of pounding drums. This lively and colorful tradition has continued unbroken for centuries to the present day.

The most popular dish during Dragon Boat Festival is tzong tsu, originally eaten in memory of the patriot Chu Yuan, but gradually evolving into a snack eaten during normal occasions as well. Making these are fun but shaping them are a pain! LOL


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