The 2017 Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan

The 2017 Taipei Dragon Boat Festival is held at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park on May 28-30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)
The 2017 Taipei Dragon Boat Festival is held at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park on May 28-30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most important traditional festivals in Taiwan. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.

Please watch a video of the Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan:

Participated by 5,700 contestants from 227 teams hailing from Taiwan and abroad, the dragon boat competition is the largest of its kind in Asia. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Attracting 5,700 contestants from 227 teams from Taiwan and abroad, the dragon boat competition is the largest of its kind in Asia. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

This year’s Dragon Boat Festival falls on May 30, and a variety of traditional activities are held across Taiwan. Among them is the Taipei Dragon Boat Festival hosted by the Taipei City Government at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park between May 28 and 30.

The Taipei Dragon Boat Festival at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park between May 28 and 30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The Taipei Dragon Boat Festival at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park is held between May 28 and 30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

The program this year includes the dragon boat competition, the zongzi (sticky rice dumpling)-wrapping competition, the City University Dragon Boat Invitation competition, and traditional activities, such as balancing eggs at noon, joyful outdoor games for kids, DIY sessions, as well as an array of other performances.

The dragon boats for the 2017 Taipei Dragon Boat Festival at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park between May 28 and 30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The dragon boats for the 2017 Taipei Dragon Boat Festival at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park between May 28 and 30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

Attracting 5,700 contestants from 227 teams from Taiwan and abroad, the dragon boat competition is the largest of its kind in Asia. Total prizes and subsidies amount to about US$200,000 (NT$6 million), and the highest prize for a winning team amounts to about US$13,300 (NT$400,000).

A variety of sticky rice dumplings are sold at a traditional market in Taipei before the 2017 Dragon Boat Festival. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A variety of sticky rice dumplings are sold at a traditional market in Taipei before the 2017 Dragon Boat Festival. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

In addition to those organized by civic groups, schools, and enterprises, there are two teams organized by Taiwan’s political parties, the Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) and the New Power Party, as well as 29 teams composed of senior citizens.

A vendor is busy wrapping sticky rice dumplings at a traditional market in downtown Taipei in the run-up to the Dragon Boat Festival fell on May 30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A vendor is busy wrapping sticky rice dumplings at a traditional market in downtown Taipei in the run-up to the Dragon Boat Festival on May 30, 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

The foreign teams are from Israel, Singapore, Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines, China, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and one organized by foreign students studying in Taiwan.

A variety of fragrance sachets (香包) are sold at Taiwan's traditional markets prior to the Dragon Boat Festival. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A variety of fragrance sachets (香包) in the shape of a rooster are sold at Taiwan’s traditional markets prior to the Dragon Boat Festival, as 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

An interesting activity at the Taipei Dragon Boat Festival is the zongzi-wrapping competition, which is an annual contest allowing visitors to demonstrate their sticky rice dumpling making skills. The process seems to be simple, but it takes a lot patience. The competition was full of fun and challenges as contestants had to wrap the bamboo leaves with thread, both tidily and beautifully.

Some of the fragrance sachets that are seen on the Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Fragrance sachets in other shapes are also commonly seen on the Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

According to legend, the fifth month on the lunar calendar is the month of poison, and the fifth day of the month marks the emergence of many poisonous insects. Consequently, people used to hang wormwood (艾草), drink realgar (雄黃) wine, and wear a sachet (香包) to ward off poisonous insects in the old days.

Traditional markets are full of a wide range of tranditional food right before the annual Dragon Festival in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Markets are full of a wide range of tranditional food right before the annual Dragon Festival in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu/Vision Times)

Another highlight of the Dragon Boat Festival is the wearing of a fragrance sachet (香包). Nowadays, fragrance sachets are small cloth bags filled with fragrant dried herbs or potpourri. In the run-up to the Festival, vendors sell sachets everywhere in Taiwan, as people buy them for their children in hopes of peace and happiness. Since 2017 is the Year of the Rooster according to the Chinese zodiac, many fragrance sachets are made in the shape of a rooster.

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