Celebrated for more than 2,000 thousand years, the Dragon Boat Festival is held in honor of Yuan Qu (340-278 BC), an ancient Chinese minister who served in Chu State, was known for demonstrating his patriotism by dying because the state was going down and his advices to help weren’t accepted.
When Yuan Qu drowned in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, people went on his search using large vessels and playing drums and tantans (musical instruments). As they did not find him, in order to preserve his body from attacks by aquatic animals such as fishes and shrimps, they threw rice balls to attract predators.
Over time, it has become customary to throw rice balls (zong zi) as an offering to the Dragon King. Zong Zi also became a traditional food of China, which can be stuffed with pork, egg, mushrooms, among others. In addition, boiled eggs (in the north) and alcoholic beverage (in the south) called Xionghuang were also enjoyed during the festival.
The festival has already spread to more than 50 countries around the world, in which many of them count on the creation of dragon-shaped boats, some of which are used to race in competitions. The boats are powered by rowing and at the end of each boat, there is a member of the team who plays the drum to encourage others to continue rowing.
Due to its importance and charm, the Dragon Boat Festival entered UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and this year of 2021, it will take place on June 14.