Everything You Need to Know About the Dragon Boat Festival

About Dragon Boat Festival

A mélange of colours and culture, the Dragon Boat Festival is symbolic of the rich Asian heritage. The festival is known by different names, such as Double Fifth Festival, Duanwu or Tuen Ng Festival and is observed annually on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. A tradition of more than 2000 years, the festival is celebrated with much passion and is known all over the world. 

Read further for everything that you must know about this vibrant festival.

The Legend

Dragon Boat Festival is commemorated for Qu Yuan, a Chinese patriotic poet who was a minister in the State of Chu. Father of great poetic masterpieces, Qu Yuan, was exiled by the king. Faithful to his country, he drowned himself on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, thus, giving birth to a popular festival. The prominence of Dragon in the festival signifies power and control over rivers and rainfall.

The Traditions

A long line of customs and traditions, such as eating Zhang (sticky rice dumplings), Dragon boat racing, operas and boxing shows held on a boat, mark the fervent celebrations. Apart from this, popular customs in countries like Taiwan also include egg balancing.

Where to Celebrate?

Though the festival originated in China, the celebrations extend to nearby Asian countries as well. The Dragon Boat Festival in Singapore witnesses some of the most zealous merriments. If you’re planning to attend the festival, you may relish enthralling boat races at Bedok Reservoir, Kallang River and DBS Marina Regatta.

What to Eat?

Zhang is the staple food of the fiesta but don’t you worry, the various iterations that have developed over the years never fail to delight. Try the different Zhang, with meat or fruits filled in the centre. Complement your meal with the delicious Realgar Wine, which is believed to ward off evils and diseases. An alcoholic beverage with great health benefits, now that’s something.

Mingle with the Locals

Dress in traditional clothing (easy to obtain during the festival) and carry perfume pouches on your neck for protection against evil. Apart from this, you’ll notice the wide implementation of mugwort and calamus leaves for various mythological purposes during the fiesta. So while you’re busy revelling the Dragon Boat Festival in Singapore, do get some of these local herbs and try them yourself.

Now that you have virtually celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival with us, are you ready to attend and celebrate it in real life?

About the author

Apeksha Rawat

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