This is common in the Nanchang region. Both dragon boat racing and the ancient Olympiad included aspects of religious observances and community celebrations, along with competition. Mythical dragons and serpents are also found widely in many cultures around the world. After a few days, local villagers founded Cao E, with her father on her back, both dead in the river. For the festivals and holidays associated with dragon boats, see, Organizations, recognition and popular culture. These rice dumplings became the zongzi we know today, while the search for Qu Yuan’s body became the intense dragon boat races. Today, Cambodia honors the use of dragon boats by the Khmer Empire's navy by hosting dragon boat competitions at the Bon Om Touk water festival. The canoes take the form of a traditional Chinese dragon, often painted in fierce vibrant colors that are reminiscent of the old war canoes. Venerating the dragon deity was meant to avert misfortune and calamity and encourage rainfall, which is needed for the fertility of the crops and thus, for the prosperity of an agrarian way of life. Not understanding the significance of Duanwu, 19th-century European observers of the racing ritual referred to the associated spectacle as a "dragon boat festival". At that time, the image of dragon was closely associated with the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, on which today's Dragon Boat Festival falls. Cao E headed to the river bund to search for her father for a long time, but she failed to discover anything. It is usually filled with green beans, leek, shredded meat and mushrooms and eaten as a wrap. People built a temple in memory of her filial piety, and the fifth day of the fifth lunar month was also used to mark her greatness. Doing so will turn the boat right or left, respectively. Races measuring 2000 meters are normally held on a 500-meter course, requiring teams to do two loops. During the 1960’s, when China was embroiled in the Cultural Revolution , campaigns against traditional culture and customs caused the popularity of traditional festivals, including the Dragon Boat Festival, to decrease dramatically. In December 2007, the central government of the People's Republic of China added the Dragon Boat Festival, along with the Qingming and Mid-Autumn festivals, to the schedule of national holidays. The first participants were superstitious Chinese villagers who celebrated the 5th day of the 5th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. After a downpour on the fifth day of fifth lunar month, Cao E's father wanted to seize the chance to fish in Shunjiang River. Cao E, a girl at age of 14 in Eastern Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD), lived an austere life with his father in a fishing village. The realgar wine is also poured into the river to dispel the fishes away. Dragon boat racing was historically situated in the Chinese subcontinent's southern-central "rice bowl"; where there were rice paddies, so there were dragon boats, too. "Tens of thousands of Cambodians cheer for centuries-old boat races." The steerer may use other calls such as "hold the boat" for the paddlers to brake using their paddles or "let it ride" for them to lift their paddles out of the water. At other times (such as during training), decorative regalia is usually removed, although the drum often remains aboard for drummers to practice. Dragon, an imaginary creature, was always a totem for ancient China, and people in old Wuyue area (present Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces in southeast China) would worship the totem on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in Prehistorical Times (1.7 million years ago - the 21st century BC). Races measuring 200, 1000, and 2000 meters are also standard distances in international competition. The date on which races were held is referred to as the "double fifth", since Duanwu is reckoned as the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which often falls on the Gregorian calendar month of June and occasionally in May or July. Dragon boat racing, like Duanwu, is observed and celebrated in many areas of east Asia with a significant population of ethnic Chinese such as Singapore, Malaysia, and the Riau Islands, as well as having been adopted by the Ryukyu Islands since ancient times. It is a vibrant spectacle that consists of heavy drumming and intense racers as they race to reach the finish line. A festival race is typically a sprint event of several hundred meters, with 500 meters being the most common. Copyright © 1998-2020 All rights reserved. They turned to beating drums, splashing water with their paddles and throwing the rice dumplings into the water – serving as both an offering to Qu Yuan’s spirit, as well as a means to keep the fish and evil spirits away from his body. China Daily, 12 Nov. 2019, Till the sunset, her father still didn't return. The celebration was an important part of the ancient Chinese agricultural society, celebrating the summer rice planting. Once again, this was another tradition that was believed to help ward off spirits, keep evil away and bring health to the family, as well as a more practical use of repelling various insects from the house. Qu Yuan was a great patriotic poet and politician living in Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC). - Dates & Calendar, Top 12 Events of Dragon Boat Racing in China. Because the paddlers face the direction of boat-movement, dragon boaters "paddle," and do not "row.". Although the Dragon Boat Festival has a long history, it has not always found favor with the Chinese authorities. To prevent his corpse from fishes' gnawing, people also threw Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) to feed the creatures in the water. As the culture focuses heavily on food, different food items hold a different significance depending on the festival being celebrated and the region in which it is celebrated. Why do we celebrate Dragon Boat Festival at the begining? Though his actions led to his exile, he wrote in order to show his love for the country. There are a number of delicious dishes in Chinese cuisine, some of which are famous all over the world. In modern dragon boat festivals, a representative can be invited to step forward to dot the eyes on a dragon boat head with a brush dipped in red paint. The Emperor was "The Dragon" or the "Son of Heaven", and Chinese people sometimes refer to themselves as "dragons" because of its spirit of strength and vitality. People from different regions hold various ideas on the festival's origin and history, and the most popular saying is the legend associated with the great poet Qu Yuan in Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC). Duan or Duen refers to upright or directly overhead. This article is about Dragon boats and racing. The use of dragon boats for racing and dragons are believed by scholars, sinologists, and anthropologists to have originated in southern central China more than 2500 years ago, in Dongting Lake and along the banks of the Chang Jiang (now called the Yangtze) … As a traditional festival originated from south China, the Dragon Boat Festival history in China is over 2,000 years long. The IDBF[4] Paddle Specification 202a (PS202a)[5] has straight flared edges and circular arced shoulders, based geometrically on an equilateral triangle positioned between the blade face and the neck of the shaft. When a steerer cranks the steering oar, the stern of the boat moves either to the left or right, spinning the boat. This is the term that has become known in the West. Wu or Ng refers to the sun at its highest position in the sky during the day, the meridian of 'high noon'. She was a poet, good at art, literature, music and horse riding. The crew of a standard dragon boat typically consists of 22 team members: 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, 1 drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and 1 steerer standing at the rear of the boat. Both the sun and the dragon are considered to be male (the moon and the mythical phoenix, however, are considered to be female). Among all the Dragon Boat Festival origins, the legend story about Qu Yuan is the most popular one, which is widely regarded as the real origin.Qu Yuan was an outstanding patriotic poet as well as politician in late Warring States Period. For races, there are 18-20 people in a standard boat, and 8-10 in a small boat, not including the steersperson (helm) and the drummer. [3] Dragon boats, however, do vary in length and the crew size changes accordingly, from small dragon boats with only 10 paddlers up to traditional boats which have upwards of 50 paddlers, plus drummer(s) and steerer. The first pair of paddlers, called "pacers," "strokes" or "timers," set the pace for the team and are responsible for synchronizing their strokes with one another, because it is critical that all paddlers are synchronized. Dragon boat racing has been a traditional Chinese paddled watercraft activity for over 2000 years and began as a modern international sport in Hong Kong in 1976. Wen Yiduo suggested that the festival may be closely associated with dragons because two of its most important activities, boat racing and … During races, teams of paddlers paddle furiously to the beat of a drum, … There are generally three different strokes used by paddlers: a (normal) forward stroke, a backstroke, and a draw stroke. It is one of a family of traditional paddled long boats found throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific islands, and Puerto Rico. A drummer is typically mandatory during racing events, but if he or she is not present during training, it is typical for the sweep to direct the crew during a race. Upon hearing news of this tragic attempt, villagers took boats and carried dumplings to the middle of the river to try and save Qu Yuan, but their efforts were in vain. ROBINSON, BELINDA. There are several different versions and legends about the origin of this festival, among which the legend of Qu Yuan is the most popular. This is one of the main food items eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. Dragons were traditionally believed to be the rulers of water on earth: rivers, lakes, and seas; they were also thought to dominate the waters of the heavens: clouds, mists, and rains. The oar lock is housed on top of the steering arm, which sticks out perpendicularly on the back-left of a dragon boat. Traditional dragon boat racing, in China, coincides with the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month (varying from late May to June on the modern Gregorian Calendar). Many terms exist for the person steering the boat, such as steerer, steersperson, sweep, and helm. Since some of the well-known traditions of the festival existed even before Qu Yuan, other origins of the festival have also been suggested. To steer, a steerer will put the blade of the oar into the water and either push the handle away from him/her, or pull it toward him/her. His father and brother were killed by the King of Chu, so he sought refuge in Wu Kingdom and help the King crusade against Chu King. Celestial dragons were considered the controllers of rain, monsoons, winds, and clouds. For the Dragon Boat Festival, these food items also vary. They believed this would not only protect them from the diseases but from evil spirits too. In some places of Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, the Dragon Boat Festival history was dated to the time of Wu Zixu in Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC). Dragon Boat Festival Story - Legend of Qu Yuan, Dragon Boat Festival Traditions - Top 15 Things to Do, When is Dragon Boat Festival? If rainfall is insufficient, however, drought and famine can result. The International Canoe Federation (ICF) also has a dragon boat program for those of its Member Canoe Federations with an interest in dragon boat. This is one of the latest Dragon Boat Festival origins. People made boats with dragon heads and tails, and held entertainment games.