Ready, get set, line! The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in today’s Doodle. The Double Fifth Festival is the name given to this customary holiday, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The starting points of this occasion date back to third century BCE, and it celebrates the life and demise of writer Qu Yuan. The Dragon Boat replica in today’s Doodle is made by hand from yarn and cardboard.
Qu threw himself into the Miluo River out of sadness when he learned that the Chu State had been defeated. Locals are said to have rushed out in boats in an effort to rescue him, according to legend. To keep fish away from the poet, they threw sticky rice dumplings into the water when they couldn’t. Zongzi, or rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves to resemble a pyramid, are said to have originated from this during the festival. This story may also be the source of the dragon boat races, which are symbolic of how the boaters raced out to find Qu.
The dragon boat races are the most spectacular of the many activities and events that take place on this day. Asians gather to watch teams race toward a flag or finish line in long, multicolored wooden boats. There are paddlers, drummers to keep the rowing synchronized, and someone to reach out and grab the flag in each of the boats, which can hold anywhere from 12 to 32 people. Before the race begins, teams paint eyes on the dragon to make their boat come to life. The intricate boats have a dragon head on the front.
On this day, additional activities aim to bring prosperity. Due to the arrival of insects and other pests during the summer, the fifth lunar month is regarded as unlucky and unhealthy. People may hang plants like mugwort, calamus, or wormwood on doors and windows or carry sachets filled with herbs and plants that repel insects. Participating in an egg-balancing challenge is yet another way to attract luck. It is said that balancing an egg on its end at noon will bring good luck for a year.
The Dragon Boat Festival is all about that, after all! Good luck to all of the competitors today.
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