10 Interesting Facts About the Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival is a Chinese holiday that is celebrated throughout the world, just as the summer season kicks off. It's an energetic festival, full of vibrant colors, and fun for the whole family. The following are 10 interesting facts to share with your kids about this magical occasion.
1. In China, the Dragon Boat Festival is called Duanwu which translates to "Solar Maximus." On the Chinese lunar calendar, this is the time of year when the sun is at it's maximum strength.
2. Traditional dragon boats are long and narrow, and can contain as many as 50 paddlers. The rhythm of the team is guided by a leader called a "drummer" or "caller."
3. The festival is held every year in June, and is also known as the "Double Fifth" because it happens on the fifth day, of the fifth month, of the Chinese lunar calendar.
4. Dragon boat racing has been in China for over 2,000 years, and is believed to have started around the same time as the Olympic Games.
5. A delicacy at any Dragon Boat Festival is called zongzi, which is a steamed rice and meat dish, that is wrapped in bamboo or reed.
6. Dragon Boat Racing is the fastest growing water sport in the world. There are clubs in over 60 different countries, with thousands of people participating every year.
7. In China, the dragon (long) and the sun (yang) are both considered male, and thus the dragon is celebrated when the sun is at it's peak.
8. Dragon Boat Racing became an international event in 1976 after the Hong Kong Tourism Bureau organized the first international races.
9. The holiday commemorates the life and death of a famous Chinese scholar named Qu Yuan (Chu Yuan) who died in a river. Villagers franticly paddled boats out to recover him, and that's how dragon boat races began.
10. The Dragon Boat Festival was finally recognized as a traditional and statutory holiday in 2008. Duanwu was celebrated as a public holiday that same year.