County draws crowd for annual Dragon Boat Festival

08:59, June 07, 2011      

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Performers play trumpets in Zigui county of Hubei province on Sunday to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. Zheng Jiayu / Xinhua

Thousands of people flocked to Xujiachong Harbor in Zigui county, Hubei province, to celebrate the Duanwu Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, on Monday.

"It is the most important festival in our family," said Tan Xuexi, 60, who lives in Wangjia village, Lianghekou town.

She said she got up very early with her husband to enjoy the celebration held along the river.

Zigui, a county in western Hubei province, has existed for thousands of years and is the hometown of Qu Yuan (339 - 278 BC), the legendary character behind the Dragon Boat Festival who committed suicide by jumping into the river to show his discontent with the corrupt society of his time.

The festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar; this year it occurred on June 6.

Each year, county residents hold a large evocation ceremony on a dragon boat in the Yangtze River.

"Come back, come back, your soul," they chanted on Monday.

A group of men in ancient clothes sang that song in front of the 62-meter-long steel dragon boat, which is said to be the longest of its kind.

Following the evocation ceremony came the official start of the China Dragon Boat Open Tournament 2011 (Yichang). Sixteen teams from China entered a competition in which the winners will divide up 400,000 yuan ($61,000) in award money.

Also started on Monday were the Yangtze River Three Gorges International Tourism Festival and the Qu Yuan Hometown and Duanwu Cultural Festival 2011, two events organized by local authorities.

"We admired Qu Yuan so much that we have kept up this tradition for our entire lives," Tan told China Daily.

She said she and her husband began learning to make Zongzi, or rice dumplings, in a traditional way when they were four or five years old.

The food eaten at the festival celebrations usually consists of fresh lotus leaves, soaked glutinous rice and jujube.

"Glutinous rice is pure white in color, which stands for Qu's noble character," Tan said. "And jujube is a symbol of his love for his country."

Tan said lotus leaves were more expensive this year than in the past.

"Because of the lingering drought, there was little water in the lake," Tan said. "So the lotus leaf was hard to grow." Tan said she paid 16 yuan for a kilogram of the leaf.

Together with officials, poets, scholars and descendants of Qu Yuan, guests from Taiwan and the mainland came to the county on Monday to taste the flavors of folk culture and tradition.

Source:Xinhua
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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(Editor:陈乐乐)

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