~ Fifth Moon or Dragon Boat
Festival Date - 30 JUN 2012
In Summer, Chinese communities
living in coastal and riverine areas throughout the world observe
the fifth moon of the lunar calendar with rice dumplings and dragon
Known as the Patriotic Poet’s Festival, it honours
the statesman-scholar Qu Yuan, who in 278 BC. drowned himself to
protest corruption in the government. As a former minister, he was
banished through political intrigue. He wrote two famous odes before
jumping into the water. Legend says the fishermen tried to save him
to no avail. To prevent fishes from devouring his corpse, rice was
thrown in to feed them. Around 40 BC. fishermen placed rice in
bamboo tubes for fear that the river dragon would eat the food meant
as homage to the dead poet.
By the Tang Dynasty (AD 265 – 419), triangular cakes were made for
the mid-summer solstice to commemorate both the first harvest of the
year and Qu Yuan’s death.
living in South China made it an annual event on that day for boats
racing to commemorate the day when people rushing out to the river
in boats to rescue Qu Yuan. A lot of the boats were decorated with
dragon heads on the bows. Later they were called dragon boats and
eventually renamed the event as dragon boats racing.
“dragons” have been racing in the waters of Penang. Since 1979,
Penang has staged the annual Penang International Dragon Boat
Festival (PIDBF) which attracts teams from all over the world.
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