The Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 is a traditional holiday originating in China, occurring near the summer solstice. 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. In 2020, it falls at June 25.
In Indonesian, the festival is known as “Peh Cun“, which is derived from Hokkien (扒船; pê-chûn).
It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also throughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years. In 2006, the traditional festival was listed as part of China’s national intangible cultural heritage. In 2008, it was recognized as a public holiday in the Chinese mainland.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chu state official and poet who lived during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) before the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). He was exiled after opposing his king’s decision to ally with the neighboring state of Qin, and when Chu was finally conquered by Qin, he committed suicide by drowning in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
The Chu people, who admired Qu Yuan for his loyalty and integrity, threw rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat the body of their poet hero. People then started dragon boat racing to scare off the fish.
Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is celebrated as the Dragon Boat Festival. The following are some customs for the festival.
Dragon boat racing
At the center of the festival are the dragon boat races. Competing teams drive their colorful dragon boats forward to the rhythm of the beating drums. These exciting races were inspired by the villagers’ valiant attempts to rescue Qu Yuan from the Miluo River. This tradition has remained unbroken for centuries.
Eating zongzi 粽子
A very popular dish during the Dragon Boat Festival is zongzi 粽子. This tasty dish consists of rice dumplings with meat, peanuts, egg yolks or other fillings wrapped in reed leaves. The tradition of zongzi is meant to remind us of village fishermen scattering rice across the water of the Miluo River in order to appease the river dragons and fish so that they would not devour Qu Yuan.
It is said that you will be lucky in the coming year if you can balance an egg upright during the Dragon Boat Festival. The egg balancing competition will be held at noon in many places.
Have you eat rice dumpling / zongzi 粽子 and balanced the egg today?
Yes, I make the egg balancing today. Excatly at 12:00 West Indonesia time. And it last until don’t know, because until 13:00 it still standing.
Zongzi 粽子 has two kind of taste, sweet and salty. The sweet one has nothing inside, and you have to eat it using syrup or honey. The salty one has meat inside.