China’s Dragon Boat Festival: millions celebrate traditional holiday

China’s Dragon Boat Festival: millions celebrate traditional holiday

Some 80 million Chinese people are expected to travel across the country when China’s three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday begins

Singapore-Dragon-Boat-Festival-2015

Some 80 million Chinese people are expected to travel across the country when China’s three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday begins on Sunday. The festival commemorates the death of famous scholar, minister and poet Qu Yuan, who died 2,295 years ago.

Qu is said to have served as an official in the Chu royal house before being banished over accusations of treason. In exile, Qu penned a substantial amount of literature and became the first Chinese author to associate his name with his work. Unfortunately for Qu, he was finally captured and committed suicide by wading into a river while holding a rock. In a bid to distract the fish from eating Qu’s body, admiring villagers rowed out in dragon boats and dropped sticky rice into the water.

In memory of Qu, today the holiday is celebrated by consuming zongzi—sticky rice stuffed with an array of fillings and wrapped in bamboo—and watching dragon boat races.

While the festival will officially be marked on Tuesday, celebrations will stretch out over three days; a staggering $4.8 billion is expected to be spent on food and entertainment nationwide.