How to Celebrate Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

By Jerry Wang, 3 June, 2011

Dragon Boat Festival is the fifth day of the fifth lunar month – this year it will be June 6th. Many old traditions have preserved in China to celebrate this festival.

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon boat racing is held to celebrate this festival and is one of the most exciting sports you will ever see. Dragon boats are thin, long boats with a dragon’s head on the bow. Most of today’s boats are still made of wood but some races use synthetic-fiber ones. The boats used in international competitions hold 22 people — 20 paddlers, one drummer and one helmsman.

Sport racing distances are normally over 200 m or 250 m, 500 m, 1000 m and 2000 m, with formal Rules of Racing. 500 meters is a standard distance in many international festival races.

The oldest International Festival Races are those held in Hong Kong annually. There are also some very long endurance events, such as the Three Gorges Dam Rally along the Yangtze River near Yichang, China, which covers up to 100 kilometers and the Ord River marathon in Australia which covers over 50 kilometres.

Making Sachets

Local people in Shanghai are keeping the tradition of making sachets. These will be given out to neighbors during the Dragon Boat festival.

The sachet is made of colorful fabrics and stuffed with perfume and fumigant. Chinese herbal medicines such as angelica, realgar, kaempferol and chrysanthemum will be used to stuff the sachets. The sachets can be made into different shapes, such as cows, fish and dolls.

Nowadays, sachets are not just for warding off mosquitoes and other insects. They add color to the festivities of the Dragon Boat festival. The old people hope that their traditions will be passed on and kept alive by the younger generation.

Eating Rice Dumplings

Eating rice dumplings is also a tradition for Chinese people. The rice dumpling is a kind of food with various designs and styles, which are often stuffed with diversified materials, such as sweetened bean paste, fresh meat, ham and yolk and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.