I’m a few days late on this post, but Happy Dragon Boat Festival or Duān Wǔ Jié Kuài Lè! Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar to commemorate on of China’s greatest patriots, scholars, and poets: Qu Yuan. He threw himself into the river after hearing the news that China had been defeated. Because the Chinese loved him so, they got into long boats looking for him, and threw zòng zi (rice dumplings) into the river for the fish. These dumplings would later become the traditional Dragon Boat Festival food. They did this to prevent the fish from eating Qu Yuan’s body. It is said that this legend is the start of dragon boat races.
We typically celebrate with homemade Chinese food and read stories about the Dragon Boat Festival. This is the second year we have had intentions of doing a dragon boat race in the pool and haven’t succeeded. There’s always next year though. I usually pick up some zòng zi from the Chinese food market, but I didn’t get a chance to do that this year. Instead, we ate jiǎozi (dumplings), crab fried rice, and crab wontons. So delicious.
Below are the books we use as resources for Duān Wǔ Jié. I have added a new one this year, the Li Sao, one of Qu Yuan’s greatest works. It’s translated into English and has been interesting to read to the children. If you’re just going to buy one, I’d start with Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival. And for older kids, you could also try The Story Behind the Dragon Boat Festival. Also, the video below is a short explanation of the holiday’s origins.
If you are looking for even more resources, I recently stumbled upon a great blog written by a man who is half Chinese. The blog is his journey to discover more of the beautiful traditions, customs, holidays, and food of China. His site is HERE.