People across China are reconnecting with traditions to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on Thursday this year.
A statutory holiday in China, Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Celebration usually includes eating zongzi, a sticky rice treat with various fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves, drinking realgar wine and dragon boat racing.
The festival commemorates the death of Chinese poet and minister Qu Yuan during the Warring States period between 475 and 221 B.C..
Qu drowned himself in the Miluo River in central China's Hunan Province after he was banished and accused of treason for his well-intended advice to the king.
After learning of his death, locals raced boats to find his body in the river and dropped rice in the water in the hope that it would distract fish from eating Qu's body. These became traditions observed to this day.
Dragon boat races are being held across the country on Thursday. On the Miluo River, dozens of dragon boats crewed by locals compete in a contest that has been held for 12 consecutive years.
Something unexpected also happened during fierce races.
Three people went missing after a boat capsized during a dragon boat racing Thursday afternoon in eastern province of Fujian.
The boat with 36 people capsized in the Minjiang River of Yuankou village, Minhou county at about 4:30 p.m. when the race was staged.
Thirty-three were rescued, while more than 160 people and eight ships were engaged in the search.
During the festival, zongzi is the must-have food for families across China. Some choose to make zongzi themselves while others buy them from supermarkets and restaurants.
At an annual market in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, people can watch how zongzi are made first hand and buy them hot off the steamer. The market begins roughly a month before the festival, with merchants lining a 600-meter-long street to make zongzi from scratch.
"I heard about how zongzi are made on the street and decided to buy some here instead of from the supermarket," said a woman surnamed Tu.
In Qu Yuan's hometown of Yichang in Hubei Province, local poetry societies host contests and recitals to pay tribute to their local hero.
Qu's loyalty to his state has also been tapped by modern-day poets to express patriotism and love for one's hometown.
"There is a strong spiritual and cultural aspect in Dragon Boat Festival," said Huang Boquan, a professor specializing in intangible cultural heritage study at China Three Gorges University.
"The customs related to the festival go beyond food and other material things to reflect the nation's spiritual yearnings,
source : xinhua