(This post originally appeared on Crameye Junker’s personal blog which is published on our totally top-secret online community for kids. So, shhh…)
Hey! It’s dragon boat time!
I know I wrote about this in my book, but I thought I’d add a bit more info about it, because it really is a cool festival. I mean, wouldn’t Thanksgiving be a bit more fun if it involved dragons racing down a river instead of pilgrims in funny hats?
Anyway, here are seven random things about the Dragon Boat Festival:
1. It has an origin!
So, the whole thing started back in 300 BC during the Warring States period in Chinese history. Long story short, a poet name Qu Yuan drowned himself because the emperor questioned his loyalty. Afterwards, everyone realized that Qu Yuan was indeed awesome, so they raced out on dragon boats to find his body. That is the origin of the modern-day races.
Everyone gobbles up tons of rice dumplings (jongzi) during the festival. These are triangles of sticky rice filled with chestnuts, fatty pork, mushrooms, and other stuff. They are wrapped in bamboo leaves, boiled forever, and then unwrapped, and dipped in spicy sauce.
These were first used when people were out on the dragon boats trying to find Qu Yuan’s body. They threw these things in the water so the fish would eat the rice dumplings instead of Qu Yuan’s body.
3. People play with eggs!
The festival falls on the day of the year when the sun is at its most intense. It is considered lucky if you are able to balance an egg on end before 12:00, when the sun is at its highest.
4. It’s celebrated in lots of places
It is celebrated mostly in the Chinese-speaking world, but is gaining in popularity in Korea, Japan, and even Germany and America. I mean, why aren’t dragons racing down a river the biggest thing ever?
5. The losers of races are offered as sacrifices to the dragons.
Totally making this up. Just checking to see if you are reading carefully.
6. It happens the same time every year. Sort of.
The festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth LUNAR month… meaning it will be on a different day every year for people using a different calendar. It’s usually around the beginning of June, though.
7. People don’t do much
To be honest, even though some people race the boats, and some people eat the rice dumplings, most people just take advantage of a day off and do nothing. Some families will get together, but for the most part, there isn’t a big family celebration like Chinese New Year would have, and there aren’t a lot of traditions that are followed.
So, that said, what do you think is the significance of this holiday, then? What are people celebrating by remembering Qu Yuan? I have my ideas, but I would love to hear yours, too. Leave me a comment with your idea.