Taiwanese festival: Dragon Boat Festival

Nationality: Taiwanese
Primary Language: Taiwanese, Mandarin
Age: 46
Occupation: Branch Manager
Residence: Taipei, Taiwan
Performance Date: 19 April 2024

Tags: Taiwan, dragon, boat, rice cakes, summer


The Dragonboat Festival is a holiday that happens on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Lunar Calendar, which equates to around the summer solstice for non-Lunar calendars. The story behind it is that there once was a wise advisor who failed to convince his king that a great enemy would destroy their land, causing him to commit suicide by drowning himself in a river. The people were so saddened by his death that they made rice dumplings wrapped in leaves called ‘Zong Zi’ and threw them in the river to let the fish eat those instead of the advisor’s dead body. Nowadays, we eat ‘Zong Zi’ to remember him, and to celebrate the summer festivities. The epynomous dragonboat races take place around the rivers, and since it’s around the time of the summer solstice, the earth’s position is at the perfect place to allow eggs to stand up on their own when placed on a flat surface, so people often go to their homes or outside and attempt it.


C was born and raised in Taiwan, and has traveled the world various times due to her work and studies. She regularly participates in Taiwanese and Asian festivities with friends and family. She has been said to be quite good at the egg-standing activity during the Dragonboat festivals, and has participated in a smaller version of the dragonboat races.


Interestingly enough, even though the festival is named the ‘Dragonboat Festival’, the origin didn’t actually start with dragonboats or races, though I suppose it would be weirder to call it the ‘Rice Dumpling festival’. The mandarin name of the festival is ‘Duan Wu Jie’, literally “dual five festival”, but perhaps the name wouldn’t make sense in english due to the different ways of tracking time. This is an example of how globalization makes its way into tradition and festival, giving new names and meaning to already-existing festivities.