FESTIVAL


The Water-sprinkling Festival happens in the middle of April (the sixth month on the Tai calendar) and lasts from three to five days. It is a favorite festival of the ethnic groups of Dai, Achang, De’ang, Bulang, and Wa. Celebrations include dragon boat racing and water sprinkling. It is believed that the water sprinkle onto someone or even get him or her soaked will bring that person good luck. The tradition of water sprinkling originates from a legend of seven young women who killed a monster that they were forced to marry. They cut its head off with his own hair. However, they had to hold its head by turns because the head would produce flames when it touched the ground. The girls would pour water over the girl who had held the monster’s head for the past year in order to wash the monster’s blood stains from the girl’s clothes.

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The Duanwu Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. For thousands of years, Duanwu has been marked by eating Zongzi and racing dragon boats.

The taste of Zongzi, a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves to give it a special flavor, varies greatly across China. Zongzi is often made of rice mixed with dates in Northern China, because dates are abundant in the area.

Eastern China’s Jiaxing County is famous for its pork-stuffed Zongzi. In the southern province of Guangdong, people stuff Zongzi with pork, ham, chestnuts and other ingredients, making them very rich in flavor. In Sichuan province, Zongzi is usually served with a sugar dressing. Most people still maintain the tradition of eating Zongzi on the day of the Duanwu Festival. But the special delicacy has become so popular that you can now buy it all the year round.

Duanwu is also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, because dragon boat races are the most popular activity during the festival, especially in Southern China. A dragon boat is shaped like a dragon, and is brightly painted in red, white, yellow and black. Usually, a dragon boat is 20 to 40 meters long, and needs several dozen people to row it. Boatmen row the boat in cadence with the drumbeats, as the captain standing in the bow of the boat waves a small flag to help coordinate the rowing. Before the race gets underway, a solemn ceremony is held to worship the Dragon King. (more…)

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