This week, the GHL team based in Xiamen will be observing a traditional Chinese festival called the Dragon Boat Festival. It is also known as Duanwu Festival and is a traditional and important celebration in China. It is a day set to celebrate the great patriot poet, Qu Yuan.
Dragon Boat Festival 2020 falls on June 25 (Thursday). China will have 3 days of holiday from Thursday (June 25) to Saturday (June 27), and we will be back at work on Sunday, June 28.
It is commonly believed that the Dragon Boat Festival originated in ancient China and was based on the poet and statesman of the Chu kingdom, Qu Yuan, who committed suicide in 278 BCE.
The festival commemorates the life and death of Qu Yuan, a loyal minister of the King of Chu in the third century BCE. It is believed that Qu Yuan antagonised the other court officials with his wisdom and intellectual ways, and so they falsely accused him of conspiracy which led to him being exiled by the king. In his exile, Qu Yuan wrote many poems to express his betrayal, anger and sorrow towards his sovereign and people.
There are many ways people choose to celebrate this day, from eating rice dumplings to racing dragon boats. Some even hang icons of Zhong Kui (a mythic guardian figure), take long walks and wear perfumed medicine bags.
Some simple facts to understand Dragon Boat Festival include:
- Chinese: 端午节 Duānwǔ Jié /dwann-woo jyeah/ ‘start [of the] fifth traditional solar month festival’
- Date: month 5 day 5 of the Chinese lunar calendar
- History: over 2,000 years
- Celebrations: dragon boat racing, health-related customs, honoring Qu Yuan and others
- Popular festival food: sticky rice dumplings (zongzi)
These activities were regarded by the ancients as effective ways of preventing disease and evil. They were also considered to promote good health and well-being.
Although our Xiamen office will be shut from the 25th – 27th June our Cardiff based team will be operating as usual.