The Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, which stands for ‘Poet’s celebration’ is one of the most spectacular and significant for Singapore’s Chinese community. It’s held annually in June.

The origins comes from the commemoration of prominent Chinese poet-patriot Qu Yuan, who lived in III century B.C. He was the minister at court of king Chu. According to the legend, because of uncompromising political fight, he was banished. In his exile, he wrote a great deal of lyrical poems due to severe nostalgia. Shortly, learning of the assault of Chu’s capital, poet couldn’t stand the shame and waded into the river. Upon learning of his suicide, the locals rushed to save. People beat drums, and threw rice and eggs into the water to distract the fish and lobsters away from Qu Yuan body.

Since then, the race on the long boats that look likes a dragon take place annually on the day of the poet’s death. The each boat crew consists of twenty paddlers. So accompanied with the drum beats and fan shouting, they are doing their best making their way along the river. At nightfall, after the end of the competition, the city comes alive with the explosions of firecrackers and fireworks.

One of the most widespread activities of the festival is eating zongzi. It a steamed rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in palm or reed leaves, and tied up with floss.

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