Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival (龙舟节, lóng zhōu jié) is, together with the Spring and Mid-Autumn festival, the most important festival in China. It is held on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese calender (approximately at the beginning of Mai). During this festival families get together and different dragon boat celebrations will be held on the rivers and lakes all around China. Zongzi are the typical food of this festival, which are thrown into the river to feed the fishes so that they will not eat Qu Yuan’s body.
It is said that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC – 278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu in the Zhou Dinasty. When the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance. Qu Yuan was accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry, for which he is now remembered. Twenty-eight years later, Qin conquered the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth month.