Duanwu Festival


Dragon Boat Festival, or Longzhou Jie (龙舟节) in Chinese is a great cultural event with its closer significance to dragons. The most famous dragon boat races are held in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou. The two important activities during this festival are eating zongzi (rice dumplings) and dragon boat races. Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival is called Duanwu Jie (端午节) in Mandarin. Duan (端) meaning ‘start’ and wu (午) meaning ‘noon’, also ‘the fifth solar month’ in the traditional Chinese calendar. This festival approximately falls between June 6 – July 6, around the summer solstice time. ‘The month of noon’ also marks the middle of summer. So, Duanwu Jie also indicates ‘the beginning of mid-summer festival’. Also, 端五 is a variant of Duanwu using wu (五), the Chinese character translating to ‘five’, meaning ‘Start of the Fifth Solar Month’.

Duanwu Festival 2023

Thu , 22nd Jun 2023

The fifth lunar month was originally known as the ‘month of poison’. During the early period of summer, due to the heat, people would easily fall ill due to epidemics. People thought it as an important time to prevent diseases and keep evil spirits away, they turned towards tradition of Dragon boat festival and changing their food style. Dragon boats are wooden boats decorated in the form of a Chinese dragon. The size varies by region and are usually paddled by 30–60 people. During the dragon race, dragon boat teams paddle harmoniously accompanied by the sound of beating drums. The winning team is beleved to be blessed with good luck and a happy life in the following year. 

Zongzi are thrown into rivers as offerings and sacrifices to the Dragon God on this day. Dragon boats races are traditionally held on this day. So, it is called the Dragon Boat Festival. Many records in Chinese history quote that Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate the death of a famous Chinese poet and minister, Qu Yuan (340–278 BC). He was known for his patriotism and many contributions to the classical poetry. Qu yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month when Chu State fell into the State of Qin. Local people swan across the river to recover Qu Yuan but no avail. To commemorate Qu Yuan, every fifth day of the fifth lunar month Chinese beat drums and paddle out in boats on the river reliving the tradition to keep fish and evil spirits away from the body of Qu Yuan. 

On the day of Dragon boat festival,

Zongzi (粽子zòngzi /dzong-dzuh) the traditional food of Dragon Boat event is consumed.

Mugwort leaves and Calamus are hung outside every Chinese household. These plants are used medicinally to combat such diseases. Their fragrance repels flies and mosquitoes.

Realgar wine is consumed during this season. It is a Chinese alcoholic drink made from fermented cereals and powdered realgar (ruby-like arsenic sulphide).

Chinese parents also prepare perfume pouches for their children. Little silk bags are sewn and these bags with perfumes or herbal medicines.

Duanwu festival dates between 2019 & 2029

Year

Date

2019

Friday, 7th of June

2020

Thursday, 25th of June

2021

Monday, 14th of June

2022

Friday, 3rd of June

2023

Thursday, 22nd of June

2024

Monday, 10th of June

2025

Saturday, 31st of May

2026

Friday, 19th of June

2027

Wednesday, 9th of June

2028

Sunday, 28th of May

2029

Saturday, 16th of June

Other Related Festivals