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dragon boat race in Hunan
dragon boat race in Hunan


The Dragon Boat Festival, which has been observed over a period of more than 2,300 years in China, commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet living in Chu State (todays Hubei and Hunan provinces) during the Warring States (475-221 BC).

   Historical records show that when the disillusioned Qu Yuan drowned himself in a river on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, residents raced to the site in boats to search for him. They made loud noises to scare away dragons and dropped rice dumplings into the water to lure fish away from Qus body.

   Ever since, people have marked the anniversary of Qus death by racing dragon boats, eating zongzi - rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves - and hanging wormwood at home.

The Chinese Ministry of Culture has published a list in which the Dragon Boat Festival, along with the traditional Spring Festival and four other festivals, is protected as cultural heritage.

   The Dragon Boat Festival has seen its influence expand overseas, It has become not only an occasion for cherishing the memory of Qu, praying for good health and safety, but also an international sport.


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