The Dragon Boat Festival, also called the Duanwu Festival, is traditionally celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on Chinese lunar calendar. With a history of more than 2,000 years, it is an important Chinese celebration. It falls on June 14 this year. The holiday goes from June 12 to 14, 2021.

There are many legends about the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival. The most popular one is that it commemorates Qu Yuan. Qu was a patriotic poet living more than 2,000 years ago. According to legend, he drowned himself in the Miluo River in what is now Hunan Province to protest corruption in his kingdom. Locals raced out in boats to rescue him or at least retrieve the poet's remains.

Traditions & Customs
  • Eating Zongzi

    Zongzi, a pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in reed leaves, is the special food eaten on the day. It has various fillings. In north China, people favor the jujubes as the filling, while the South sweetened bean paste, fresh meat, or egg yolk.

  • Dragon Boat Racing

    Legend holds that the race originates from the idea of the people who rowed their boats to save Qu Yuan after he drowned himself. Now it has turned to be a sport event held in China, Japan, Vietnam, and Great Britain.

  • Hanging Mugwort Leaves and Calamus

    Usually the plants are hung on doorframes and the main hall. In some areas people use mugwort leaves and calamus to make garlands or tiger-shape, which are believed to be able to drive out the disease miasma.

  • Tying Five-color Silk Strings

    According to folklore, tying five-color silk string around wrists, ankles, and the neck protects children from evil. Five-color string holds a special significance in China, as it is thought to contain magical and healing properties.

  • Wearing Scented Sachets

    On the Dragon Boat Festival, children normally wear scented sachets threaded with five-color silk string to ward off evil. A scented sachet is an ornament worn on the front of the dress. The sweet-smelling sachet contains cinnabar, realgar and aromatic herbs.

  • Drinking Realgar Wine

    There is an old saying: 'Drinking realgar wine drives diseases and evils away!' Realgar wine is a Chinese alcoholic drink consisting of fermented cereals and powdered realgar. It is a rare soft orange mineral consisting of arsenic sulphide.

  • 2021 Fenghuang County Dragon Boat Race

    Duration: June 13-14

    Venue: Shawanhe Section of Tuojiang River

    Event: 300-meter straight line speed race against the stream

  • Exhibition of Qin Dynasty’s Unification

    Duration: June 12-Septemer 12

    Venue: Changsha Museum

    This time 150 pieces/sets of cultural relics will be displayed. It tells the development of the Qin Dynasty and the historical situation behind it from the political, economic, military, scientific and technological perspectives of that time.

    Standard ticket: 90 yuan/person
    Opening hours: 9:00—17:00 (last entry at 16:30); closed on Mondays except national statutory holidays
    Tel: 0731-82892350; 0731-82892360 

    Visitors can follow the WeChat official account of Changsha Museum (cssbwg) or log on its official website to make a reservation.

  • Fireworks Show

    Duration: June 12-June 13, 20:00

    Venue: Huayi Brothers Movie Town

    Canoe and kayak rowing will be arranged in the town.
    During the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, water sports are a must. In the hot summer, it is thrilling to row canoes and kayaks through the winding waterways of the town.
    Duration: June 12-June 14
    Day tour ticket for adults: 137 yuan/person
    Day tour ticket for students: 87 yuan/person
    Night tour tickets and one-hour canoe and kayak rowing for two people: 199 yuan
    Night tour ticket and one-hour canoe and kayak rowing for one person: 119 yuan

    Chinese source:Wechat official account of changshawgx

  • 17th China Miluo Dragon Boat Festival

    Duration: June 14

    Venue: Miluo International Dragon Boat Racing Center

    Participants: 16 teams
    Event: 500-meter straight line speed race
    A standard crew of 22 members

  • Temple Fair Exhibiting Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Duration: June 9-June 16

    Venue: Changsha

    Activities: intangible cultural heritage performances, food tasting, and flower-drum opera performances
    Note: Performances are held in open air. No tickets are required. Visitors should observe the relevant epidemic prevention regulations and wear masks. People with cough, fever and other symptoms are not advised to participate.