The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar, which is 3 June this year. With every traditional celebration is a legend that started it all - and the Dragon Boat Festival is no different.
Qu Yuan was a renowned Chinese poet during the warring states period. He served as a Left Minister for the state of Chu but was exiled due to scheming by corrupt officials. During his exile, Qu Yuan’s hometown, the state of Chu fell to the siege of the state of Qin. Qu Yuan was stricken with grief and committed suicide by wading into the Miluo River. It is said that the local people, who revered Qu Yuan, searched for him in boats and this became the origin of dragon boat races. When his body could not be found, the people dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fishes would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. Since then, it has become a custom for Chinese families eat rice dumplings in memory of Qu Yuan's legacy.
Today, the Dragon Boat Festival is more about having families come together. In many ethnic Chinese households, rice dumpling-making and watching annual boat racing are bonding sessions that involve every member of the household.
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