Dragon boat festival

boat

Dragon boat and “zongzi”

It is time for Dragon boat festival. It is one of the three big celebrations in Taiwan. Others are Chinese new year around a month after ours and the moon festival in Autumn. I have heard some stories about the reason for this festival. Usually people tell me that it is to celebrate one Chinese poet called Qu Yuan. He was a poet about 300 years B.C. at the time of Zhou Dynasty. That time there was seven different parts of China who all fight each other. The king whom this poet served formed an ally with another king and Yuan was exiled and even called traitor because he opposed the alliance. After some time alliance turned out to be a bad idea, the capital of poets kingdom was captured by the other party of the alliance.

The poet was devastated and jumped into a river to commit a suicide. Local people gathered in boats and tried to save him or at least retrieve his body and this was how dragon boat races, one of the main events in this festival, was started. One other distinctive feature at dragon boat festival is sticky rice cakes called zongzi. The legend tells that people tried to throw these cakes in to the river for the fishes to eat so that they wouldn’t eat the body of the poet. People have offered zongzi for me about two weeks already and I actually like those rice cakes bind with bamboo leaves quite a lot.

zongzi

Zongzi nomnom

team

A dragon boat race team

vene

Safety first. People keeping eye on the race.

The dragon boat festival is a three days long event this year starting from Saturday and ending on Monday which is a public holiday here in Taiwan. I was told that on the festival site there is a huge amount of people and lots to eat etc. So I went to visit one festival place on Saturday noon. It was actually really difficult to find because the park where it was was huge and I didn’t even notice the festival site from other end of the park. When the place was finally found I was surprised to notice that there was not that many people there. Most of them were participants in the boat race and there wasn’t much else to see. I guess that this was because it was too early and only the first day of the festival. Maybe today there would be more people to see the finals of the race.