5th day of the 5th lunar month
the dragon boat festival, also called the duanwu festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the chinese calendar. for thousands of years, the festival has been marked by eating zong zi (glutinous rice(糯米)wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo or reed leaves) racing dragon boats.
the festival is best known for its dragon-boat races, especially in the southern provinces where there are many rivers and lakes. thisregatta(赛舟会)commemorates the death of qu yuan , an honest minister who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.
qu was a minister of the state of chu situated in present-day hunan and hubei provinces, during thewarring states period(475-221bc)(战国时期). he was upright, loyal and highly esteemed for his wise counsel that brought peace and prosperity to the state. however, when a dishonest and corrupt prince vilified qu, he was disgraced and dismissed from office. realizing that the country was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, qu grabbed a large stone and leapt into the miluo river on the fifth day of the fifth month. nearby fishermen rushed over to try and save him but were unable to even recover his body. thereafter, the state declined and was eventually conquered by the state of qin.