In China, people celebrate Dragon Boat Festival on 5 May(Chinese lunar calender) every year. On that day, Chinese people always eat traditional Chinese rice-pudding(zongzi), hold dragon boat race, hang Chinese mugwort leaf(a kind of Chinese medicinal herb), and drink realgar liquor. From 2008, Dragon Boat Festival is one of Chinese national holiday, and all Chinese have a day off on that day. On 30 September, 2009 Chinese Dragon Boat Festival was added to The world human intangible cultural heritage list of masterpiece.
There are several legends on the origin of this festival:
1) A festival to commemorate a filial daughter named CaoE.
CaoE was a 14-year girl who lived in East Han dynasty(almost 2000 years ago). One day, her father got drunk in the river. She had been finding her father' body along the river, but could not be found after several days. After 17 days, she jumped into the river and drown herself on May 5. And she carried with her father's body and floated on the river.
2) A festival to welcome an immortal
In Spring Autumn period, a patriotic general from Wu nation died unfairly, and became an immoral. People in Wu nation felt sadly for him and held a memorial ceremony for him.
3) It is a festival for Sun.
Some people think that Dragon Boat Festival is festival for sun. In China, there is a festival for moon, that is mid-autumn festival.
4) It is a Chinese traditional festival when Chinese Han nation people to commemorate Qu Yuan. This legend is wildly accepted by Chinese people.
Qu Yuan(340 BC --- 278 BC) is the first Chinese romantic poet. Qu Yuan was born in a downfallen royal family of Chu nation. He was was diligent and studious when he was a Child, and he has a big ambition in his mind. After he grew up, he became a learned person and was appointed as the prime minister of Chu nation, and get trust from the emperor of Chu(Chu huaiwang). He often discussed national affairs with Chu emperor, and joined in the formulation of low. Thanks to the hardworking of Qu Yuan, Chu nation got enhanced on national power. Qu Yuan was honest and frank in work, so he did not want to associate with evil persons, then he was trapped by those evil persons and was evicted out of capital. In 278 BE, Chu nation was conquered by Qin nation. His political idea was destroyed, and got depressed on future. He wanted to dedicate himself to service Chu nation, but now Chu was conquered, and he could not change the result, so he only died to express his ambition. On 5 May, 278 BE, Qu Yuan jumped into Miluo river and drown himself.
After Qu Yuan jumped into Miluo River, local people heard that news and they paddled boats to rescue him. They boats flowed to Dongting Lake(the second largest freshwater lake in China) along MiLuo river, but they have not found Qu Yuan's body. That day was a raining day, so all the boats in Dongting lake were collected at the shore. When these freshmen heard that they were salvaging Qu Yuan, they started off again in the rain. All people wanted to find Qu Yuan's body quickly, so they paddled their boats to Dongting lake competingly. At last, they have not found Qu Yuan's body. To express their grief on Qu Yuan, so they held boat race on May 5 every year. This is the origin of dragon boat race.
Local people were worried about that fishes and shrimps would eat Qu Yuan's body, so all people went back home to took rice rolls and threw them to the river to feed fishes and shrimps. They hoped that all fishes and shrimps would be full up, so they would not eat Qu Yuan' body. From that year, they made Zongzi on May 5 every year, and threw to river to feed fishes and shrimps. This is the origin of Zongzi.
Customs in Dragon Boat Festival:
1) Eat Zongzi
2) Dragon Boat Race
3) Wear scented pouch