Dragon Boat Festival

端午节duān wǔ jié), or the Dragon Boat Festival, is one of the most popular traditional Chinese festivals. It occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar.


Two of the most widespread activities for the Dragonboat Festival are preparing and eating 粽子 (zònɡ zi), or glutinous rice dumplings.


Another one is dragonboat racing.

dragon boats racing


These activities are related to the origin of the Dragonboat Festival.


The best and most widely known legend relates to Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC – 278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu, in the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty. Qu Yuan served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu Yuan was banished for opposing the alliance. Qu Yuan was accused of treason during his exile. During this time, he 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.

It is said that the local people who admired him threw rice into the river to feed the fish so that the fish would not eat Qu Yuan’s body. This is said to be the origin of zònɡ zi . The local people were also said to have paddled out on boats to retrieve his body. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.

Watch this 3-minute video about 端午节,challenge yourself and see how much you can understand.


1.《Chinese Traditions and Festivals》textbook taught at 1on1 Mandarin

2. Duanwu Festival article from Wikipedia

3. Dragonboat Festival  from Baidu-百科


  • http://1on1MandarinBlog Chris White

    Thanks for the great info on the Dragon Boat Festival. You are the man, Darren! We can count on you to keep us informed – I love it!:)
    Have a great Dragon Boat Festival:)