A Saturday morning stroll always led me to the Dragon Boat pond. Perhaps it was the beat of the drum that drew me there. Whatever the reason, I was fascinated by the teams of students preparing for the festivities at the time of the solstice.
According to legend, the Dragon Boat Festival is held to honor Qu Yuan, a poet and statesman from the Chu Dynasty, considered China's classical age. It was the time of Confucius and Sun Tzu. He sacrificed himself in protest after learning his kingdom lost a war. Devastated by the news his supporters decided to throw food into the river so that they fish would not eat his body. They also scared the fish away by playing drums on long narrow boats called dragon boats. This evolved into the tradition of annual dragon boat races and zongzi eating that thrives thousands of years later.
This year a 3 day weekend will celebrate Qu Yuan and the street of Jimei will overflow in celebration as the dragon boats race through their pond. Qu Yuan is honored indeed.
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