Falling on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese calendar, the Dragon Boat Festival is also called Double Fifth festival, and dates back to the pre-Qin period (pre 221 BC). It fell on June 23rd in 2012, and Chinese people had a three-day holiday from June 22 to 24.
Eating rice dumplings (zongzi) is a tradition for people to celebrate the festival the majority of Chinese have in common. Besides this, in celebration of this famous festival, people of various nationalities and areas also have their own folk activities.
Folk Customs in Suzhou
Generally speaking, the festival is held in celebration of the famous poet Qu Yuan of the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC). However, the festival around Suzhou is in celebration of Ng Gee Sui, and the related celebration activities are 200 years earlier than the commemorative activities for Qu Yuan. In celebration of the festival local people make rice dumplings according to an ancient recipe.
Folk Customs in Zigui County (in the west of Hubei Province)
ZiguiCountyis the hometown of the famous poet Qu Yuan of the Warring States Period, and is widely regarded as the birthplace of dragon boat customs and culture. Visiting Zigui County during dragon boat festival is an ideal opportunity to appreciate the original customs and culture of the festival. You can participate in lively commemorative activities.
For hundreds of years, dragon boat racing has been the largest mass meeting in Zigui County. The best venue to appreciate the race is Muyudao harbor which is only 1 kilometer from the Three Gorges Dam. The yearly race is held on the nearby river. Local people in Zigui like to hang argyi wormwood and drink liquor.
During the dragon boat festival there is a commemorate evening party and an open tournament of dragon boat racing. Traveling to Zigui County, you can also go sightseeing at the Three Gorges Dam and Jiuwanxi mini cruise area. You can take a flight from Guangzhou to Yichang, and take a bus from Yichang to Zigui County.
Folk Customs in Zengcheng (a county-level city of Guangdong Province)
The folk customs are subject to local weather conditions. As the temperature in the fifth month of the lunar calendar is increasing day by day, in order to bring down the temperature, local people wash their hair with sweet flag (acorus calamus), drink liquor and eat rice dumplings. They also visit their parental homes or exchange presents with their friends and relatives.
The most characteristic activity is the dragon boat racing, when friends and relatives gather together to watch the boat races and eat dragon boat rice. Dragon boat rice is a kind of fried rice, containing sleeve-fish, agaric mushrooms, small shrimps, and glutinous rice. Tourists coming to watch the boat race will be invited to have the rice.
Folk Customs in Sanjiang County of Guangxi Province
During the festival, the people of Sanjiang County in Guangxi Province hold male and female boat races. They make dumplings, offer sacrifices to Qu Yuan, and ancestral spirits. You can also appreciate Chengyang Bridge, which is ranked as the one of the world’s top 10 most spectacular bridges, and the songs of the Dong nationality, which are a national intangible cultural heritage.
Folk Customs in Stockaded Villages of the Miao Nationality in Guizhou
People of the Miao ethnic minority hold the dragon boat festival in celebration of dragons, rivers, and ancestors. They hold a dragon canoe festival that is unique in the world. Their unique dragon canoes are very small and narrow, and they can only carry one person. In Shidong town of Taijiang County there is a dragon boat museum that is the first boat museum in China.
Their local Dragon Boat Festival is held from the 20th to the 24th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. You can take a flight from Guangzhou to Guiyang and then transfer to Kaili City. Taijiang County is about 38 kilometers from Kaili City.
Folk Customs in Mayang County of Hunan Province
The festival is held in celebration of the legendary ancestor of the Miao minority, Panhu. The festival lasts 17 days from the first day to the 17th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. The villages near Panhu Temple organize various entertainment activities and invite troupes to provide performances. Boat racing is also an unmissable activity held during that period. You can take a flight from Guangzhou to Zhijiang Airport of Huaihua City, about 300 kilometers west of Changsha, and then transfer to Mayang, 50 kilometers north