The Duanwu Festival, also often known, especially in the West, as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional holiday originating in China, occurring near the summer solstice. It
is also known as Zhongxiao Festival (Chinese: 忠孝節; pinyin: Zhōngxiàojié), commemorating fealty and filial piety. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, which is the source of the festival’s alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date of the festival varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In 2016, it occurred on June 9; and in 2017, on May 30.
A dragon boat is a human-powered watercraft. They were traditionally made in the Pearl River Delta region of China’s southern Guangdong Province out of teak wood (mostly imported from Pontianak, Indonesia) to various designs and sizes. In other parts of China, different kinds of wood are used to build these traditional watercraft. It is one of a family of traditional paddled long boats found throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific islands and also Puerto Rico. Currently, boats are being made for competitive purposes out of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials.
Dragon boats are the basis of the team paddling sport of dragon boat racing, a watersport which has its roots in an ancient folk ritual of contending villagers, which has been held for over 2000 years throughout southern China. While competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of religious ceremonies
and folk customs, dragon boat racing has emerged in modern times as an international sport, beginning in Hong Kong in 1976. But the history of dragon boats in competition reaches as far back as the same era as the original games of Olympia in ancient Greece. Both dragon boat racing and the ancient Olympiad included aspects of religious observances and community celebrations along with competition.
Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) are traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival), which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar (approximately late-May to mid-June).
A popular beliefamongst the Chinese of eating zongzi involved commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period.