Dragon Boat Festival Celebration around the World
What countries celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival?
Where is the Dragon Boat Festival celebrated? China, being the originator of the Dragon Boat Festival, celebrate the festival the most. Due to the influence of Chinese culture, many countries in Asian like South Korea and Japan also have Dragon Boat Festival celebrations. Moreover, the festival was introduced to Europe and America by Chinese immigrants and people there also celebrate the festival, mainly with dragon boat races.
China Mainland is abundant in the Dragon Boat Festival celebration activities. Dragon boat rowing is not only to mourn the patriotic poet Qu Yuan but also to pray for a bumper harvest, good weather and a healthy body. Eating Zongzi, a kind of rice dumpling, is another common custom. Besides, people hang calamus and wormwood on their doors to drive mosquitoes and flies away and purify the air, and kids wear perfume satchel and five-colored silk thread in red, yellow, blue, white, and black. Taiwan and Hong Kong also have other different customs and activities.
The main Dragon Boat Festival celebrations for Japanese people are eating zongzi and drinking calamus wine in order to fend off evil influences. Since the “calamus” and “advocate strength” in the Japanese language are homophonic, the Dragon Boat Festival has gradually become a festival for boys. To wish the boys grow in strength and health, people will also hang a carp banner at the door, which means high hopes for their boys.
South Korea’s Dragon Boat Festival is rich and colorful in activities. Gangneung Danoje is a typical representative of the South Korean Dragon Boat Festival which lasts for more than 20 days. During Gangneung Danoje, there will be activities with local characteristics such as throwing pots, wrestling, swinging, taekwondo competitions, college football matches and so on. The Gangneung Danoje is a large-scale folk activity for citizens to pray for good harvest and well-being.
Vietnam celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Their main Dragon Boat Festival celebrations are eating zongzi and driving away insects. Parents will prepare a lot of fruits for the children and help their children wear a lucky charm weaved by colorful silk lines. Adults will drink realgar wine and they also wipe realgar wine on their kids to help drive away inspects. Moreover, the Vietnamese believe that eating zongzi helps to obtain good weather and a good harvest.
In Singapore, it is a festival to exorcise evil spirits and pray for peace. On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, they will always remember to eat zongzi and hold dragon boat races. There are a special kind of zongzi called flower zongzi. The flower zongzi is made from the light green rice powder dyed by with flower juice. They are wrapped in a multi-angled shape the size of an egg. Around the Dragon Boat Festival every year, a wonderful dragon boat challenge tournament is held in Singapore’s East Coast Park.
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In Malaysia, people eat zongzi on this day. The zongzi-making contest is held almost every year. There are many people of all ages participating in the competition. The dragon race is also an annual event.
The United States
It is probably since the 1980s that Americans have gradually learned about dragon boats through participating in dragon boat races held in China and other places. Today, China’s traditional sports dragon boating has become some Americans' sports habits and one of the aquatic sporting entertainments in the United States.
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In Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal as well as other cities in Canada, the Dragon Boat Race is held almost every year. Not only Chinese but many Canadians and boat racing lovers from all over the world participate in it. In recent years, Canada international dragon boat challenge tournament is organized during the Dragon Boat Festival, which attracts many tourists every year.
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The Dragon Boat Festival has become established in Germany for about 30 years. In 1989, the dragon boat event officially entered Germany and the first “Dragon Boat Festival” was held in Hamburg. After 1991, the races moved to Frankfurt, the financial center of Germany, and have continued to this day. The Dragon Boat Race has become an important sporting event in Germany.
The United Kingdom
In the UK, many people now go to watch dragon boating and enjoy zongzi during Dragon Boat Festival celebrations. However, the most famous boat race in the UK is the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, which is the oldest inter-university rowing event in the world. The race has been held annually on the Thames in London by the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge Rowing Clubs since 1829. The only breaks being between the two World Wars. In recent years, women’s races have been introduced by the universities and are rowed on the same day.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng Festival)