端午节快乐!(Duānwǔjié kuàilè!) Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

Dragon Boat race during 端午节 (Duānwǔjié)

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So, yesterday was 端午节 (Duānwǔjié,) a festival dedicated to the memory of a famous poet and minister named 屈原 (Qū Yuán,) who lived during the Warring States period of ancient China (which was between 476BCE to 221 BCE, over 2000 years ago!)

Unfortunately—because he was the number one adviser to the kingdom of Chu—others were jealous of him, and spread malicious rumours behind his back. He ended up falling out of favour with the king because of it, leading him to commit suicide by jumping into the river.

He was still beloved by the people though, so many people rushed to save him in their boats, but they could not find his body. This is why the day is marked with people competing in Dragon Boat races.

After Qū Yuán’s death, the people didn’t want fish to eat his body, so they would throw 粽子 (zòngzi) and other food into the river, so the fish would eat that instead. This is why we also eat 粽子 during 端午节.

Traditional 端午节 (Duānwǔjié) snack in China, 粽子 (zòngzi)

It’s a sad story, isn’t it? Better have a 粽子 to cheer yourself up! 🙂

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