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Dragon Boat Festival

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Dragon Boat Festival comes on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, and has the longest history among the festivals celebrated in China. It is celebrated nationwide, and the place where the Chinese reside will be livened up.

The festival is celebrated to commemorate Chu Yuan, a patriotic Chinese poet. Chu Yuan lived in the Warring State Period (476 BC-221 BC). He was talented and initiated Chu Ci which is translated as 'Songs of the South' or 'Poetry of the South' because Chu was an ancient state that once included a large part of south central China. When his country was in perilous sate, Chu Yuan advised to king, but failed. The king didn't take his proposal, and, on the contrary, exiled him to the Miluo River. As a result, the kingdom was conquered. On hearing the news, Chu Yuan was in great grief and drowned himself on the fifth day of the fifth month in 277 B.C. Many locals strived to rescue him by dragon boat after his dawning. To prevent the fish and a mythical flood dragon from eating his body, people also threw rice cooked in bamboo tube, and cooked wheat paste into the water at the same time to fed fishes.

Subsequently, dragon boat race becomes necessary part of the festival. On that day, dragon boat races are held to the sounds of thunderous drumbeats. The boats are incarnated from towing old trees and then be painted. The boat is shaped like a dragon, hence the name. With five downs and ups the boats commence their journey in the sound of memoriam. Ten thousand dragon boats shove off at the same time, breaking the waves to worship the spirit of the great martyr with the most solemn ceremony. Racing teams row vigorously, sprinting forward to reach the finish line.

Later on, the rice cooked in bamboo tube, and cooked wheat paste was replaced by Zongzi, a kind of glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves. Zongzi is rhombic and the fish will mistake it for the water chestnut. Zongzi used for sacrifice are always tangled with threads having five colors which are believe to intimidate the legendary water dragon. 

On that day, some areas also follow the ancient tradition of drinking Realgar wine to protect themselves from illness, inserting the Folium Artemisiae Argyi and Grassleaf Sweetflag Rhizome on the window, and cleaning the house. Also, Realgar wine are sprinkled surrounding the house and are used to wipe children's faces. Folium Artemisiae Argyi is a kind of herb which emanates a special flavor in May, while Grassleaf Sweetflag Rhizome is a kind of water plant.

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