Dragon Boat Festival
|The Ancient Painting of Dragon
Eating various kinds of glutinous rice dumpling, making fragrant sachets and rowing boat with a designed dragon head in front have been the Chinese customs for celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival(Duan Wu Festival, Simplified Chinese: 端午节) over 1,500 years. On the Fifth Day of the Fifth Month according to Chinese lunar calendar, glutinous rice dumplings should be eaten which is a custom that has been introduced to Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The most welcomed dumplings nowadays are made from Jiaxing of Zhejiang Province, eastern China.
Fragrant sachets are made from vermilion, realgar and some other Chinese herbs, packed skillfully, usually by women, as a kind of festive ornament to be worn or hung, especially for children expelling evil and pest, and preventing ailments in early summer’s warm and humid weather.
The dragon boat racing tradition comes from searching Qu Yuan’s body in water and today it has become an internationally favorite sport. Some large boats can carry up to 80 rowers with a powerful drummer seats behind the dragon head. Sport competitions are very exciting that the pounding drum beats, and grand view of colorful dragon boats sailing ahead and the loud sounds of applaud from the intoxicated spectators.
On the Fifth Day of the Fifth Month in Lunar Calendar of 278 BC, the ancient Chu State official and poet Qu Yuan（屈原） was suicide by throwing himself into the Mi River in Jiangxi Province, because he heard the bad news that the Qinshihuang Emperor’s army had successfully breached the Chu’s capital. Qu was an honest government cadre and beloved by his fellow countrymen, therefore, afraid of the fishes and shrimps in the river would eat Qu’s body, residents managed to find it by rowing boats in a very hurrying manner while many others had to prepare glutinous rice dumplings to be throwing into the water to feed the fishes.
China Lantern Festival
|The activity to celebrate the
China Lantern Festival
Chinese people celebrate the Lantern Festival(Yuan Xiao Festival, Shang Yuan Festival, simplified Chinese: 元宵节; 上元节) on the Fifteenth Day of the New Year. Yuan Xiao (元宵) means a night on the First Month of the year with spring comes, so people like to celebrate. The night’s moon may be full; people ignite the light of lanterns, eat dumpling balls and guess puzzles.
The Lantern Festival is also known as the Little New Year since it marks the end of the series of celebrations starting from the Chinese New Year. In some region and countries, this festival is also regarded as the Chinese version of St. Valentine’s Day, a day celebrating love and affection between lovers in Chinese tradition and culture.
A Lonely Maiden: Legend has it that Yuanxiao was a beautiful maid in the emperor’s palace. Despite her opulent lifestyle, she missed her family and desired only to be home with her family during Chinese New Year.
The God of Fire: The story goes that she told the emperor the God of Fire visited her and told her that he planned to burn down the city. She suggested that the emperor should make the city look like it was already burning so the God of Fire wouldn’t bother them.
Lanterns & Firecrackers:The emperor took the threat seriously and had the entire court and city put up colored lanterns and light firecrackers to mimic a great fire. The palace was so busy with the preparations that Yuanxiao was able to sneak home!
La Ba Traditional Festival
|Enjoy Laba Porridge for free on the
traditional festival of Laba
In the last month of the Lunar Calendar, Chinese people are gradually excited about the forthcoming New Year, and the Eight Day of the month called La Ba (腊八, December in Lunar Calendar is called “腊” and “eighth” is “八”). An old saying, “If La Ba comes, can Spring Festival be far behind?” Chinese have kept this tradition for more than a thousand years and La Ba porridge is eaten to celebrate the festival.
La Ba porridge is prepared with glutinous rice (糯米) as the base, and dried jujube (红枣) and longan (桂圆), together with lotus seed (莲子), adzuki beans (赤豆), dried grape, and peanuts.
A legend goes that in old northern India, the founder of the Buddhism, Sakyamuni, was the son of the emperor. He was very clever and knew that common people were suffering from agonies such as getting old, illness and death. When he was 29, he gave up all of his privileges and practiced Yoga for six years. On one day in 525 BC, he founded the Buddhism. This, interestingly, was the Eighth of the last Lunar Month in China. As the Buddhism became popular in China, Buddhist monasteries would cook congee contributing the Buddha, the congee is the origin of La Ba porridge.
Writer: David from Seeraa International
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