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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dragon Boat and Bai Ta Shan

Today, me, Benjamin Xi, and another guy named Stan (one of Benjamin's roommates) climbed up Bai Ta Shan, which means White Tower Mountain. It was a pretty fun, but exhausting climb - the view was amazing. (video below)
Tomorrow's the Dragon Boat Festival - I'll be interested to see what kind of stuff the city's going to be doing for the holiday. I think I'll go down to the Yellow River and see if there will be any boat races.
The Dragon Boat remembers Qu Yuan, who was a high ranking official during the Warring States Period in ancient China. He was living in the state of Chu, and during that time, there were Seven Kingdoms, including the kingdom of Qin, who wanted to conquer the other kingdoms and unite China. Qu Yuan wanted the other kingdoms to unite against Qin, who was the strongest kingdom. 

His king and the king's son didn't agree with Qu Yuan's idea and demoted him and he was forced to leave the city. Qu Yuan was very depressed and often worried about the future of his kingdom, so one day he threw himself into the Yangtze River (I believe that's the right river) and drowned himself as a protest against his king. Qu Yuan was a very beloved figure, so many people got in their boats and raced to save him, but it was too late. 

While they were trying to find Qu Yuan's body, they threw what's called Zong Zi, or Zhong Zi, depending on where your accent is's a type of food which is sort of a pyramid shaped rice ball made from rice powder, into the river so the fish wouldn't nibble on his body.
Now, people hold boat races in order to remember the speed that people employed in order to save Qu Yuan, and eat Zong Zi to also remember him. The boats all have dragon heads mounted on the front (I don't know the word for it), so the festival eventually got the name Dragon Boat festival. 

PS - for some reason, my proxy is no longer working, so I cannot check Facebook or put up more videos on YouTube

P.P.S - Here's the video! 

1 comment:

  1. sounds like a fun festival, sad background story though. I love hearing the background stories of how a tradition got started or where a name for something came from :)


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