Dragon Boat Festival,Architecture
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Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival takes place in the fifth day of the fifth month in Chinese lunar calendar. As one of the most important traditional festivals, it has been uninterruptedly passed down with a history of over two thousand years.

There are various celebrating activities on that day, among which dragon boat race, eating zongzi and wearing sachet are important customs. Here zongzi refers to the steamed glutinous rice and other ingredients wrapped in bamboo leaves.

There are many legends on the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival. The most widely accepted one is that the festival is to commemorate the great poet Qu Yuan in 3th century B.C. People praise highly the lofty sentiment and outstanding talent toward this patriotic poet and take more pity on the finale that he drowned himself in a river. Legend has it that the dragon boat race was firstly sailed for refloating his remains and the zongzi was firstly threw into the river to feed the fish in case that the fish had his body dined.

  • Food of Dragon Boat Festival

  • Zongzi

Zongzi, a traditional Chinese food made of glutinous rice, stuffed with different fillings, and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, is the most popular food of the Dragon Boat Festival. It is steamed or boiled, differs not only in shape but also in taste from one place to another across China. However, there are mainly two tastes to Zongzi, sweet and salty. Sweet Zongzi flavors include plain Zongzi, red bean Zongzi, horse bean Zongzi, date Zongzi, rose Zongzi, melon Zongzi, red bean and lard Zongzi, and date paste and lard Zongzi; Salty Zongzi flavors include salted pork fat Zongzi, sausage Zongzi, ham Zongzi, dried shrimp Zongzi, and diced meat Zongzi. Nowadays, people make Zongzi with mixed fillings, such as Pork, red bean, peanut etc. And such a variety of tastes makes the Zongzi family a splendid legacy. Moreover, the common fillings of Zongzi are Egg Yolk, Lotus Seed, Ham, Red Bean Paste, Chestnut, Fat Pork etc.

Beijing Zongzi
Beijing Zongzi features a small size and is in the shape of a quadrangle. The common fillings in Beijing are the jujube and sweetened bean paste.

Shanghai Zongzi
Shanghai Zongzi features a variety of shapes and fillings.

Guangdong Zongzi
Compared with north Zongzi in China, Guangdong Zongzi is large in size and has special shapes. It is either sweet with walnuts, dates, or bean paste as a filling, or salty with ham, egg, meat, or roast chicken as a filling.

Minnan Zongzi
Xiamen Roast pork Zongzi and Quanzhou soda Zongzi are the two typical types of Minnan Zongzi, and well known both at home and abroad.

Ningbo Zongzi
In the shape of a quadrangle, Ningbo Zongzi includes many varieties such as soda Zongzi, red bean paste Zongzi, and date paste Zongzi. The famous Zongzi is the soda Zongzi, which is made of glutinous rice soaked in soad water, then wrapped in yellow reed leaves.

Jiaxing Zongzi
In the shape of a triangle, Jiangxi Zongzi uses fresh meat, red bean paste, or eight treasures (choice ingredients of certain special dishes) as fillings. Meanwhile, people put a small piece of fat meat into the glutinous rice when wrapping this kind of Zongzi.

Sweet Tea Zongzi
Sweet Tea Zongzi uses stewed sweet tea in which to soak the glutinous rice. This type of Zongzi has a bright color, a soft taste, and a sweet flavor. The West Mountains area of Zhejiang Province have followed the custom of boiling Zongzi with sweet tea, boiling rice with sweet tea, and cooking rice porridge with sweet tea. Even the Dream of Red Mansions (one of the four most famous classical literature works of China) mentioned the Sweet Tea Zongzi in several times.

Guangxi Zongzi
In the middle area of Guangxi Province, the Zongzi is in the shape of a big pillow and weights over half a kilogram. The Zongzi in Guilin is small in the shape of a small pillow, while the Zongzi in the northern part of Guilin is in the shape of a dog’s head. Moreover, the fillings used differ from one place to another. People in Guilin add a little baking soda to the fillings to make the Zongzi tastier, while people in Quanzhou soak the glutinous rice in straw-ash water for additional flavoring.

Cantonese-style Zongzi
In the shape of a flat bottom and square or pentagonal top, the Cantonese-style Zongzi really has rich fillings, such as chestnuts, fresh meat, egg yolks, mushrooms, roast duck, and mushrooms etc. The two represented style are the Xihualou and Xinya Zongzi.

Huaiyang-Style Zongzi
Represented by Zongzi made by Laobanzhai and Yangzhou Hotel, Huaiyang-style Zongzi is famous for its eight flavors and eight shapes, such as quadrangular date and red bean Zongzi, ingot-shaped ham Zongzi, triangle bacon Zongzi, pillow-shaped chicken Zongzi, and diamond-shaped bean paste Zongzi.

Vegetarian Zongzi
The flavors of Vegetarian Zongzi include mushroom Zongzi, bean board Zongzi, and red bean Zongzi etc.

Moreover, some types of Muslim Zongzi are offered by the Muslim restaurant Hongchangxing. Its beef Zongzi is the most popular among the locals.

  • 2. Mianshanzi

Mianshanzi is kind of flour food which is made into the shape of a fan, and mainly prevails in Minqin Countu in Northwest China’s Gansu Province. Mianshanzi is made up of five layers, with each layer covered with fried sprinkles of pepper powder. Besides, the appearance of the food is pinched into a variety of flowers to make it appeal to eyes.

  • 3.Egg with garlic

People in the rural areas in Central China’s Henan Province and East China’s Zhejiang Province eat egg with garlic on the Dragon Boat Festival. The eggs are steamed with garlic and then shared with families as breakfast. People believe this would keep them health.

  • 4.Fried cake (Jiandui)

In Est China’s Fujian Province,every family eats jiandui, a kind of fried round cake made of flours of wheat, rice and sweet photo, on the Dragon Boat Festival day. Legend has once upon a time, people believed there were holes in the sky which allows rain to drop when this area entering the rainy season, so work need to be done to fill these holes to stop the rain. Eating Jiandui is said to help mend the sky and fill the holes.

  • 5.Eel

Eating eel is a custom of the Dragon Boat Festival in central China’s Wuhan region. At that time, eels are in season, and fat with tender food and rich nutrition. That’s probably is the reason why eel is eaten on the festival day.

  • 6.Thin Pancakes

In East China’s Wenzhou area, every family eats a kind of thin pancakes on the Dragon Boat Festival Day. The pancake is made of refined white wheat flour fried on an iron frying pan. Only the pancke becomes as thin as a piece of silk, the work is done. Green bean sprouts, leek, shredded meat and mushrooms are then rolled into the cake as filling.

  • 7.Eggs steamed with tea

People in Central China’s Nanchang region eat eggs boiled with tea on the Dragon Boat Festival day. The shells of the boiled eggs are then dyed in red and put into colorful net bags. The bag will hang in children’s necks, which is believed to bring them good luck.

  • 8.Glutinous rice cake

People in Yanbian area of Northeast China’s Jilin Province eat glutinous rice cakes.

  • Top Places to view Dragon Boat Festival

  • 1.Hangzhou

Dragon Boat Race in Xixi Wetland
Celebrated: June 6-June 6
Location: Xixi National Wetland Park is located in the western part of Hangzhou City, less than 5 km from West Lake.
Features: tourists can appreciate not just the wonderful dragon boat race and the perfect combination of Chinese folk traditions and Olympic spirits, but also can sit in the tea pavilion and enjoy tea whilst listening to well-known operas and satisfying our eyes with the gorgeously wrought dragon boats.

Dragon Boat Drift on Xin'an River
Celebrated: All year round
Location:Situated in western Zhejiang Province, Hsin-an River is part of the main stream of Qiantang River. With a total length of 373 km, Hsin-an River originates from Xiuning County in Anhui Province where it is called Feng River, Dayuan River, and Suai River. As it runs east to Pukou in Shexian County, its name changes to Hsin-an River or Hui Port. Hsin-an River runs southeast to Tong River in Meicheng in Jiande City of Zhejiang Provinces
Features:The dragon boat drift, available in whole drift seasons as well as during the Dragon Boat Festival.

How to get: Drive on Hang Xinjing Highway until you reach the Hsin-an River exit, and get off; take the express bus from Hangzhou to Hsin-an River.

Dragon Boat Race in Cangqian Ancient Town
Location: Cangqian Ancient Town, Yuhang District, Hangzhou
Features:The dragon boat race here is considered the most traditional in China. During the annual Dragon Boat Festival, the most traditional dragon boat race is held. The simplest decorated dragon boat shuttles back and forth on the river. Occasionally, several old dragon boats are stuck with many colorful flags.

How to get: From Hangzhou, you can drive from Wen Yi West Road to the west until you reach the Luting Road exit. Turn right up to Hai Shu Road, where you will find Cangqian in front of you, or take the bus from Gudang to Cangqian.

  • 2.Hong Kong

Celebrated: June 6, 2011
Location: Hong Kong; the main race is at Stanley
Features:Thousands of contestants train for and prepare for it. Races are held at several places including Stanley and Yau Ma Tei, but the biggest race and the most popular is held at the town of Stanley that is on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island.

  • 3.Yueyang

Celebrated: Jun. 10 to Jun. 16
Location: Yueyang, located in northeast Hunan Province, and surrounded by Hubei and Jiangxi Province.
Features:This festival lasts for 7 days. Besides, there will be wonderful activities and dragon boat races everyday. In addition, there will be seminars on international Qu Yuan culture, painting and calligraphy exhibitions in memory of Qu Yuan

  • 4.Fenghuang Ancient Town

Celebrated: Jun. 6 to Jun. 6
Location: located in west Hunan Province, Fenghuang ancient town is a historical and cultural city. Rewi Alley, a famous Australian writer, once described Fenghuang ancient town as one of the most beautiful cities in China. Fenghuang Ancient Town is adjacent to Dehang Village of the Miao Nationality, Mengdong River of Yongshun, and Fanjing Mountain of Guizhou Province, which means it is the perfect location to view water activities along with kinds of ethnic minorities.

Features: Dragon Boat Racing in Fenghuang Ancinet Town is also the largest sports event around the provinces, including Hunan Province, Hubei Province, Congqing City, and Guizhou Province. The venue is the busy area of Hui Long Ge, near Tuojiang River in Fenghuang Ancient Town. More than 100,000 spectators and tens of teams increase each year.

How to get: First take a train to Huaihua or Jishou, and then transfer to a shuttle bus to Fenghuang, then join the tourist group to Fenghuang.

  • 5.Zhanjiang

Location: a coastal provincially administered municipality in Guangdong.

Features:While watching the race, see the boundless stretch of clear gulf water and the charming coastal scenes, and appreciate the scenery of Huguang Rock, Donghai (East Sea) Island, and Techeng Island. Besides, the Zhanjiang government held the “2009 Zhanjiang International Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament” at the sea-watching area of Jinshawan, Chikan District, in Zhanjiang.

  • 6.Quanzhou

Location: Shage Village is a small fishing village in the northernmost part of Quan Zhou.
Features:Quan Zhou Dragon Boat Festival, especially the dragon boat race in Shage Village in the Quan Gang District is very impressive. At that time, every nearby town is required to form at least one team. Besides, there is also the custom of setting up stage for the local opera (the Puxian Opera) from May 3 on the lunar calendar. It is also worth watching activities such as Sea Goddess Matsu’s visiting the village on the morning of May 5.

  • 7.An Kang

Celebrated: Jun. 6 to Jun. 6
Location: located to the north of Qinling, in Shaanxi Province
Features: people will cross the Han River with the dragon boat to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan.

  • 8.Guizhou

Celebrated: Jul. 26 to Jul. 26
Location: Qiandongnan
Features:  The well carved wooden dragon head represents the Miao people’s strong belief of nature. The Dragon Canoe Festival is one of the four most important festivals celebrated by the Miao ethnic minority who lives on the banks of the Qingshui River, in southwest China's Guizhou Province. The other three important festivals celebrated by the Miao people are the Miao New Year, the Lusheng Festival and the Sister's Meal Festival.