Dragon-Boat Festival, and fun for all
The tradition of perfumed herb sachets and zongzi dumplings are being celebrated in historical Kangqiao Town in the Pudong New Area ahead of next Friday's Dragon-Boat Festival, or duanwu.
On Saturday morning, a variety of folk activities were held in the local Mianqing Ecological Park, built in a vast green belt featuring natural waterways below elevated roads, to celebrate duanwu.
Two teams took part in a dragon-boat race on the river, and children flew flags, blew trumpets and cheered for them. Not far away, dozens of tents were put up, allowing people to experience duanwu’s traditional activities and folk crafts, such as paper-cutting, egg painting and sachet making.
Sachets filled with fragrant herbs and medicinal powders are traditionally worn around the time of the festival as the aromas they repel insects.
“It’s quite new to me, and I feel it’s interesting to paint on eggs,” said local girl Yueyue, 8.
The most striking scene, however, was hundreds of people, including senior citizens and white-collar workers, in a zongzi wrapping battle.
Zongzi, glutinous rice dumplings with salty or sweet stuffing wrapped up in a bamboo leaf, is the traditional seasonal delicacy.
It is said that Chinese eat zongzi to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), a poet from the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), who drowned himself after his motherland was invaded.
And tradition has it that people paddled boats hoping to salvage his body but failed, and thus they threw packets of rice into the river to prevent fish from eating his body.
“In Kangqiao, the tradition to celebrate duanwu has been well preserved, and we hope to pass it on to the future generation, especially today as it is International Children’s Day,” Pan Yuelian, chairman of the township people’s congress, said on Saturday.
“These activities are designed to teach our children their history and culture, and to love our home town."