Dragon Boat Festival


JK: Dragon Boat Festival, an Asian festival, you can see it in Taiwan, in China, in a lot of different places. I’m not exactly sure, but it’s the 5th day of the 5th month in the Chinese calendar, so around June for us. It’s about this guy called Qu Yuan who was the Prime Minister and known for his wisdom but there’s a story where he was correct about something he told the king, but his enemies convinced the king to kill him. So the king did not believe him and the kingdom fell to ruin. Qu Yuan committed suicide by falling into a river. The villagers were so upset, they wanted to make sure his body wasn’t eaten by fish. So they dropped wrapped “zongzi” into the river so the fish would eat that instead. So now the Dragon Boat Festival exists because there are a lot of Dragon Boats and races across the river. So we eat the zongzi as a way of remembering Qu Yuan and thanking him for his wisdom and his service.

It’s near the summer equinox and you can also balance eggs on the floor. 


JK’s family is from Taiwan, he grew up celebrating this festival every year. He has participated in eating zongzi and balancing eggs for the Dragon Boat Festival. 


Festivals surrounding other folklore are fairly common. In this case, the festival is surrounding the legend of Qu Yuan. Similarly to other festivals around the world, the Dragon Boat Festival honors a historical event through ritualistic storytelling. It also involved communal activities designed to foster a sense of community and cultural identity through the use of culturally significant objects like zongzi and dragon boats. Its practice of honoring historical events and culture bears similarities to the Japanese Obon Festival, a vibrant festival celebrating deceased ancestors similar to the Day of the Dead in Latin America. Another example is the Korean Dano Festival that involves cultural foods similar to zongzi in the form of rice cakes.