Dragon Boat Festival National Holiday - China and Hong Kong
China offices will be closed from the 9th June to the 11th June
Hong Offices will be closed on the 9th June
The Tuen Ng Festival, otherwise known as the Dragon Boat Festival, has been celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon for millennia.
Legend has it that the holiday honors the tragic death of Chu Yuan, who died in 288 BC. At the time of Warring States, Chu Yuan was the minister of the state. The King was captured during fighting and in honor and remembrance of the old King, Chu Yuan wrote a poem called “Li Soa.” This angered the new King, who ordered Chu Yuan into exile. Instead of leaving his beloved country, Chu Yuan threw himself into the Mi-Lo River.
The legend proclaims that the people tried to rescue their honored statesmen by chasing him down the river, beating drums to scare away the fish and throwing dumplings into the river so that the fish would not eat his body. Today’s celebrations symbolize the vain attempts of the friends and citizens who raced down the river to save Chu Yuan.
Today’s celebrations symbolize the vain attempts of the friends and citizens who raced down the river to save the respected Chu Yuan. There are half a dozen sites in Hong Kong today that participate in the dragon boat races. A dragon boat is a huge war canoe that has a dragon’s head carved into the bow and a dragon’s tail carved at the stern. The boats can seat anywhere from 20 to 80 paddlers, varying in size. A drummer who sits mid-boat and keeps the time of the oar strokes on a huge drum accompanies all boats.
The dragon boat races are daylong events. All kinds of organizations from around globe such as, police, fireman, army, embassies, and even local journalists unions, travel to Hong Kong and enter teams for the races.
A gunshot sets the boats off and the beating drums and cymbals from the crowded shores fill the harbors with noise. The races last all day; on the shores of Hong Kong people celebrate with lively song and dance, rooting on their team.
It is believed that the Dragon Boat Festivals repel evil and bring luck in the summer months.
About a week after the festivals in Hong Kong, special International Dragon Boat Races are held all over Asia and the United States. In the U.S., they can be found in Boston, New York, and Colorado.
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