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端午節 Dragon Boat Festival



The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival) is a traditional Chinese holiday which occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, which corresponds to late May or June in the Gregorian calendar.

Duanwu as the festival is called in Mandarin Chinese, literally means "starting/opening horse", i.e., the first "horse day" (according to the Chinese zodiac/Chinese calendar system) to occur on the month; however, despite the literal meaning being wǔ, "the [day of the] horse in the animal cycle", this character has also been interchangeably construed as wǔ (Chinese: 五; pinyin: wǔ) meaning "five". Hence Duanwu, the "festival on the fifth day of the fifth month".

The Mandarin Chinese name of the festival is "端午節" (simplified Chinese: 端午节; traditional Chinese: 端午節; pinyin: Duānwǔjié; Wade–Giles: Tuan Wu chieh) in China and Taiwan, and "Tuen Ng Festival" for Hong Kong, Macao,Malaysia and Singapore.

It is pronounced variously in different Chinese dialects. In Cantonese, it is romanized as Tuen1 Ng5 Jit3 in Hong Kong and Tung1 Ng5 Jit3 in Macau. Hence the "Tuen Ng Festival" in Hong Kong Tun Ng (Festividade do Barco-Dragão in Portuguese) in Macao.

Dragon boat racing has a rich history of ancient ceremonial and ritualistic traditions, which originated in southern central China more than 2500 years ago. The legend starts with the story of Qu Yuan, who was a minister in one of the Warring State governments, Chu. He was slandered by jealous government officials and banished by the king. Out of disappointment in the Chu monarch, he drowned himself into the Miluo River. The common people rushed to the water and tried to recover his body. In commemoration of Qu Yuan, people hold dragon boat races yearly on the day of his death according to the legend. They also scattered rice into the water to feed the fish, to prevent them from eating Qu Yuan's body, which is one of the origins of zongzi.



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