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The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Double Fifth Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar (generally May or June) and originated in ancient China.  The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most important Chinese festivals, along with the Autumn Moon Festival and Chinese New Year.

This summer festival coincides with the planting of rice and also celebrates a popular government official named Qu Yuan, (about 4300 BCE) who fell out of favor in the Chinese Emperor’s court.

Unable to regain the respect of the Emperor, Chu Yuan threw himself into the Mi Low River. Because of their admiration for the popular Chu Yuan, the local people living adjacent to the Mi Lo River rushed into their boats to search for him while throwing rice into the waters to appease the river dragons.

Qu Yuan’s spirit returned and told them the rice meant for him, was being devoured by the river dragon. He asked that they wrap the rice in leaves, in shapes like small pyramids. Today, people eat these rice dumplings, known as zongzi in memory of the old man.

Although they were unable to find Chu Yuan, their efforts are still commemorated today during the Dragon Boat Festival.  The races have become a global sport and are characterized by loud drumbeats and heavy competition. 

 

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