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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dragon Boats!

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant holiday celebrated in China, and the one with the longest history. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated by boat races in the shape of Dragons. Competing teams row their boats forward to a drumbeat racing to reach the finish end first.

The boat races during the Dragon Boat Festival are traditional customs to attempts to rescue the patriotic poet Chu Yuan. Chu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Chinese citizens now throw bamboo leaves filled with cooked rice into the water. Therefore the fish could eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eating tzungtzu and rice dumplings.

When the race begins, all one can see is the rowers of each team driving their boats forward in unison to the beat of drums. The winning team is the one that first grabs the flag at the end of the river course and the difference between victory and defeat may be only a few fractions of a second. The energy and excitement of the race attracts thousands of spectators, who watch from the river bank cheering on their favorite team.

Dragon Boat Festival is highlighted by the dragon boat races, in which 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 celebration's is a time for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year. It is done so by different practices such as hanging healthy herbs on the front door, drinking nutritious concoctions, and displaying portraits of evil's nemesis, Chung Kuei. If one manages to stand an egg on it's end at exactly 12:00 noon, the following year will be a lucky one.

The most popular dish during Dragon Boat Festival is tzung tzu, originally eaten in memory of the patriot Chu Yuan, but gradually evolving into a snack eaten during normal occasions as well.

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