Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan

The Dragon Boat Festival Taiwan is a grand festival event second to the Chinese New Year. Apart from eating Zongzi and dragon boat rowing, there are many other special and interesting folk customs such as sacrificing to the Dragon King, taking “noon water”, stand eggs on end.

Taiwan Dragon Boat Festival Date and Holiday

The Dragon Boat Festival Taiwan is on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The 2023 Dragon Boat Festival falls on June 22. People in Taiwan can enjoy a two-day holiday from Jun. 22 to Jun. 23.

Sacrifice to the Dragon King

The sacrifice to Dragon King has been hosted by the Longshan Temple in Lugang for over 40 years. Before Taiwan dragon boat race, people burn the incense candle to welcome the Dragon King to patrol from the urban street to the competition site. And then people worship the Dragon King and the dragon boat, and insert the incense on the boat to pray for win.


Taiwan Dragon Boat Race

The earliest dragon boat race in Taiwan was said to be held in the 29th year of the Qing Emperor Qianlong in 1764. The custom then soon became popular throughout the island. Here is a list of top dragon boat races in Taiwan:

Taiwan Dragon Boat Race Place Time
Taipei Dragon Boat Festival Carnival Keelung River Jun.25-26, 2020
Lugang Duanyang Celebration Activities in Changhua Lugang Cancelled 
Anping International Dragon Boat Championship in Tainan Canal Jun. 23-Jun. 25, 2020
Love River Dragon Boat Festival Carnival and Dragon Boat Festival Race in Kaohsiung Love River Cancelled 

  Read more about
Dragon Boat Races
What is a Dragon Boat? - All You Need to Know about Dragon Boating

Zongzi in Southern Taiwan VS. Zongzi in Northern Taiwan

Zongzi in southern and northern Taiwan differ in their making process, tastes and ingredients.

In the north, the glutinous rice used to make zongzi is firstly fried with seasonings, then wrapped in the leaves and at last steamed in a steamer. It is chewy and has a strong seasoning flavor.

In the south, the raw glutinous rice and other cooked fillings are directly wrapped in the leaves, and then boiled. The glutinous rice is soft and dense; the calories are lower and the taste is lighter. When eaten, it will be topped with a special sauce to highlight the natural characteristics and aroma of the ingredients.

  Read more about Zongzi

Hakka in Taiwan Eat Eggplant

In Miaoli, Taiwan, Hakka people eat eggplants during the Dragon Boat Festival. They believe the eggplants can help to repel mosquitos for that “eggplant” and “bite” in Hakka language are homophonic.

Plums are also eaten in the Dragon Boat Festival. It is said that plums can prevent heatstroke. In addition, during Dragon Boat Festival Taiwan, Hakka people often eat alkaline zongzi. Alkaline zongzi is also an indispensable sacrifice for Hakka worship. It tastes delicious when topped honey or syrup.

People in Tainan Eat Jiandui Instead of Zongzi

In Tainan, people do not eat Zongzi, but a kind of food called Jiandui (Deep-fried Sesame Balls). This tradition is related to Zheng Chenggong, also called Koxinga (1624.08.26-1662.06.23), a famous general who recaptured Taiwan from Holland colonists. It is said that when Zheng Chenggong’s army landed in Taiwan, there was no rice to make Zongzi in the Dragon Boat Festival. The Taiwanese sent foods such as potato flour, peanuts and beans to his army. Zheng Chenggong then ordered to blend these together and fried to create a kind of new food to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. Since then, people in Tainan have eaten Jiandui in Dragon Boat Festival.

Take “Noon Water”

In Taiwan, there is a magical custom, which is to take “noon water”. It is said that when Zheng successfully recaptured Taiwan, the troops urgently needed water, but they could not find the water source. Zheng Chenggong inserted the sword into the ground, praying for the spring water, and then the water really sprayed out. Since it was noon on the Dragon Boat Festival, the water was called “noon water”. At the noon of the Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan, people take “noon water” to make tea and take a bath to pray for good fortune.

Stand Eggs on End

The most interesting activity of the Dragon Boat Festival Taiwan is the “standing eggs on end” competition. People believe the one who can quickly set up an egg at 12 o’clock in the Dragon Boat Festival will obtain good luck. In terms of science, the sun shines on the northern hemisphere during the Dragon Boat Festival, and the sun’s gravity and the earth’s gravity pull each other at noon, making it easy for the eggs standing on the ground.

 Further Reading:
 Taiwan Travel Guide

- Last updated on Oct. 31, 2022 -
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