Archives for posts with tag: duan wu festival

wood block printLxHmm, China

This Yang Liu Qing wood block print depicts a scene of the Duan Wu Festival where the dragon boat race is taking place.  From the costume, it would be a time of the Republic of China period, the cue hairstyle has gone, the appearance of western style hats.

The dragon boat race began as a rescue operation of the respected Qu Yuan who leaped into the river to kill himself. Fisherman gathered ringing gongs to scare the fish away, feeding them zong so they will not harm him.  Hundreds of years later, it came a festival that attracted even the Emperors would participate viewing the race.

Today is 5th of lunar May, and you have probably feasted on the traditional dumpling (zong) over the past few days.  The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival will take place on this weekend and this year it have the setting of the Victoria Harbour.  Click here for more details.

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fragrant sachet

W60xL370mm, China

Tomorrow is the Duan Wu festival, the 5th day of lunar May, before Qu Yuan and the dragon boats came along it was a day for casting away the deadly famine.  In ancient times when science and hygiene was poor, it is believed that lunar May is the month of toxin and the 5th is the day of  evil and on this combination the day of death.  To avoid ailment one is to be purified by bathing and resisted on meat, alcohol and sexual activities.  A fragrant sachet would be worn by people all ages, the contents of the bag changes through time as hygiene improves and the taboo of the day of death becomes more remote, from the evil busting copper coins to the pesticide realgar powder, to the antiperspirant clam  powder to medicinal fragrant herbs.  From patchwork, the sachet was later decorated with embroidery; this particular on has on it a lotus and a lizard, lotus symbolizes togetherness with the lizard (one of the 5 poisonous creatures) offering it protection.

W20xL150xH100mm, China

Today, lunar 5th May, is the Duan Wu Festival, better know as the Dragon Boat festival.  It is a day to commemorate the death of the Chinese hero Qu Yuan.  Qu Yuan was poet from the Warrings State Period,(278 BC), he was a close aid to the emperor helping the Chu Guo state becoming a strong state.  Being loyal to his country he refused to collaborate with the corrupted higher ranking officers and empress, for this they kept him away from the emperor.  Despite his advice and objection for a treaty with the Qin Guo state, the emperor was lured to visit the Qin, was held captive and died there .  When the son of the emperor took over Qu Yuan was sent into exile.  Qin attacked and conquered the Chu; Qu Yuan, heart broken that his country was lost committed suicide in the river Mi Luo Jiang.  Hearing the news the folks steer boats to rescue him but neither him nor his body could be found, fearing that the fish would eat away his body, they beat drums to scare the fish away and throw in dumplings to keep the hungry fish away.