Dragon Boat Festival (Duān Wǔ Jié端午节)
The fifth lunar month's fifth day is the traditional Chinese Dragon Boat festival. People eat Zongzi 粽子 (pyramid-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves) and hold dragon boat races. It is said these activities commemorate the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan in ancient China. The memorial temple of Qu Yuan is in Hubei Province.
Qu Yuan was grieved and felt he had no power to save his motherland, and he drowned himself in the Miluo River. It was the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 278 BC.
When the people heard the news, they rowed boats and made loud noises with drums to scare the fish. They tried to find his body but were unsuccessful. In order to prevent the fish and shrimps from eating the corpse, people threw food into the river to feed them.
Thereafter, in the fifth month of the lunar calendar, people threw food into the river. Later, people used reed leaves to wrap glutinous rice into pyramid-shaped dumplings (zongzi) for this purpose. The custom of eating zongzi and racing dragon boats started in this way.
Throughout the years, Zongzi has gradually become localised. They come in all shapes and sizes and are stuffed differently. The Dragon Boat Festival has become a very important sport and has spread worldwide.
Dragon Boat Festival in Manchester
The Vietnamese Chinese Association and the Manchester Alliance of Oriental Organisations (MOOA) established the Dragon Boat Festival at Salford Quays. The Greater Manchester community, local organisations, Greater Manchester Police, NHS and charity organisations all gathered together to run the Dragon Boat race fundraising event. In 2013, Chinese organisations took over the event. It is a huge event for the community.