The Dragon Boat festival is a unique Chinese festival, also known as the Dwanwu Festival. It has been celebrated in China for more than 25,000 years! The Fifth day of the Fifth lunar month marks the beginning of the various events held and also boosts up the tourism industry. Legend says that a Chinese patriot, Qu Yuan threw himself into the Mi Lo river to protest against the corrupt government in the period of 475-221 BC. In order to save him and prevent the fish from eating him, the locals threw rice patties into the river. Ever since then rice dumplings or zongzi are prepared and eaten during this festival season. Other activities include drinking realgar wine and dragon boat racing.
Dragon boats are giant sized boats painted attractively and embellished with a dragon head and tail. The race begins with the rowing of boats to the rhythm of pounding drums. Once the night falls, the breath-taking Dragon Lanterns and brightly lit creations come alive and truly steal the show. Since summer is a time when diseases spread rapidly, Dragon Boat Festival represents an occasion for driving off evil spirits and pestilence and for finding peace in one’s life.
by JOSEPHINE OTIENO