People living in Taiwan will have a day of rest on the Duanwu Festival, aka Dragon Boat Festival, on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. So what’s so special about Duanwu that makes it a national holiday in Taiwan? An anecdote is in order.
In the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC), a patriotic poet named Qu Yuan of the ancient state of Chu was banished for opposing the alliance with the state of Qin, which is one of the strongest stats at the time. Twenty-eight years later, Qu Yuan’s prediction and biggest nightmare came true: The state of Chu was conquered by Qin. Lamenting the agonizing result, Qu Yuan, harboring enormous resentment and displeasure, committed suicide by plunging himself into the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
Hearing the drowning of Qu Yuan, people made and threw zongzi or rice dumplings into the Miluo River in high hopes that fish would not eat the flesh of Qu Yuan’s body. That began the tradition of people making and eating delicious zongzi on the Duanwu Festival.
Nowadays, we also have International Dragon Boat Race to celebrate the special day. Those brightly painted dragon boats, also a delightful relic from Qu Yuan’s time, are meant to scare and drive away fish that may harm Qu Yuan’s body (yes, even today). It’s always fun to watch the race. Feast your eyes on these selected photos.