The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the three most important Chinese Holidays, together with Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. Held in the Summer (usually June on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar), the festival is an occasion to ward off disease and evil spirits.
A traditional view is that it began in commemoration of the great poet Qu Yuan who was believed to have drowned himself in sorrow at the corruption of the local government. Local people threw glutinous rice and food into the river to feed the fish and stop them from eating his remains. It is also thought that they sat in long narrow boats and beat drums hoping the noise would scare the fish away as would the carved dragon head on the prow of the boat (hence Dragon Boat).
Today the festival is celebrated with a series of exciting dragon boat races, taking place at various locations across the country Boats are very brightly decorated in the style of a dragon and are raced by competing teams to the rhythm of drums. Depending on the size of the boat, there may be up to 80 rowers in one boat! Today the races take place every year, in many countries around the world.
It is possible to witness the Dragon Boat Races in Suzhou on our Yin and Yangtze tour departing on 01 June 2013 or alternatively we can tailor an itinerary specifically for you. Please contact us for further details.
Dragon Boat Festival Supplement is available on the following trips