2013 Taipei Dragon Boat Festival

On June 8, 2013 by admin

June is the month of one of Taiwan’s most important events, the dragon boat festival.  This is when dragon boat races are held on rivers and lakes all over Taiwan, with the largest events held in the capital, Taipei.  In addition to races, there are other traditions and special foods during this period.

The Dragon Boat Festival began as a ritual to commemorate the patriotic scholar, poet, and statesman Qu Yuan who lived during in the Warring States Period of ancient China.  During this turbulent period in Chinese history, Qu Yuan supported the Chu State.  Although the Chu King was originally fond of Qu Yuan, the King ended up exiling Qu Yuan after being vilified by political enemies.   Despite being exiled, Qu Yuan remained loyal to the Chu State, and when the Chu capital was captured by the rival Cin State’s army, Qu Yuan threw himself into the Miluo River to end his life and to show his loyalty.

After Qu Yuan’s death, the people rowed up and down the river in search of his body. They also wrapped rice inside leaves to throw into the river in the hope of keeping the fish and shrimp from eating Qu Yuan’s body. This is the origin of the dragon boat race, and the rice balls wrapped in leaves became the festive dumpling snack called Zongzi.

Today, dragon boat races are held around the world and zongzi are prepared for everyone to eat during the Dragon Boat Festival.  It is an event of intense excitement, with colorfully decorated dragon boats, cheering crowds, and wild beating of drums that keep the rowers in tow.  There is no set standard for boats, with designs, length, and size varying from region to region.  It is tradition to hold a ceremony on the eve of the dragon boat competitions to paint on the eyes of the dragon that sits at the front of the boat.  In Taipei, the official ceremony is performed at Qu Yuan Temple in Zhoumei, the only temple in Taiwan dedicated to worship of Qu Yuan.

The 2013 Race Schedule is as follows:

Program Schedule

Addition information can be found at the official 2013 Taipei Dragon Boat Festival web site:

http://2013dragonboat.tpec.edu.tw/bin/home.php

 

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