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Tribute to China's ancient patriotic poet


13:39, October 19, 2011

If you are visiting China now, it's easy to feel a strong festive mood all across the country as people are celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival. Now let's take a quick tour around the nation to see what people do on this occasion.

People also throw Zongzi into the water. These are the pyramid-shaped dumplings made of

This is Zigui in Hubei Province in central China where the tradition of the Dragon Boat Racing originated. It is the hometown of Qu Yuan, China's best known and most revered patriotic poet. Nearly 23-hundred years ago, Qu Yuan drowned himself in despair over his country's future. Ever since, there have been dragon boat races each year. All this activity, including the song you are hearing, is intended to call back the soul of Qu Yuan to visit home.

Ever since, there have been dragon boat races each year.

People also throw Zongzi into the water. These are the pyramid-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. At first, this was done to protect Qu Yuan's body from being eaten by fish. But as time went by, the practice has been a way for generations to commemorate the ancient hero.

As for the biggest ever made, here is the one made in southern Foshan. The king of Zongzi weighs two tons. Hundreds of kilograms of glutinous rice, various beans, smoked meat and salted yolk are piled as a mound, wrapped with bundles of bamboo leaves. And everyone is welcomed to take a free piece to help finish the giant.

Among the tops of the must-do list of Duanwu traditions, you'd better take a hike and pick up some fresh mugwort. The Asian wormwood is used in cuisine as well as a traditional herbal medicine. The weed is believed to bring good luck and keep evil spirits away. Yimeng Mountain in eastern Shandong Province is rich in mugwort, and attracts many families from near and far to join the fun.

The festive mood is also being felt at the ongoing World Horticultural Expo in the northwestern city of Xi'an. Visitors are treated with free desserts and plenty of traditional "Xiangbao", or small colorful embroidered packs that wrap you in a lovely fragrance.

And who wouldn't enjoy the fun of festivals better than children? So, many Chinese parents don't miss an opportunity to let their children experience traditional culture combined with fun.

In eastern Zhejiang Province, these kids had their first day of school just as their ancestors did. It's the school where many of China's celebrities spent their childhood for the last century. Children were marked with a vermilion dot on their forehead before taking their first lesson at school.


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