Coming to a Chinatown Near You: A Festival of Sticky Rice, Dragon Boats, and Toxic Wine

The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the largest holiday celebrations in the Chinese diaspora. The holiday is characterized by eating sticky rice dumplings, racing dragon boats, and putting up plants which ward off evil spirits. In some areas people drink the dangerously potent realgar wine as part of the celebration.

In Chinese, the holiday is known as the Duanwu Festival (Duānwǔ jié). The Chinese name translates as “opening the seventh,” and refers to where the holiday falls on the traditional Chinese calendar

This year people will celebrate on June 2nd. In lakes throughout the world, dragon boat racers will meet each other in competition. The races are usually accompanied by ceremonies to mark the holiday.

The dragon boat festival came into being to commemorate folk heroes in Chinese history. It’s now celebrated in many countries, and remains a lively holiday and display of tradition.

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