If you are a visitor to Taiwan the Dragon Boat Festival is a must, get on board the High-Speed Train and head for the Zhongshan District.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a major Chinese festival which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Its origin was to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan.
Out of all the great Taiwan festivals, Dragon Boat Festival has the longest history with many stories telling its origin. The most popular one is the patriotic poet- Qu Yuan.During the declination of China at the end of the Zhou Dynasty, Qu Yuan served as a minister to the Zhou Emperor.
During the day of the Dragon Boat festival, there are various beliefs and traditions that ethnic Chinese do, such as racing dragon boats, eating glutinous rice dumplings (Zhongzi), hanging calamus and moxa on the front door, drinking concoctions, displaying portraits of Zhong Kuei, children wearing fragrant sachets, as well as standing an egg at 12:00 noon.
The Dragon Boat Festival is highlighted by the dragon boat races, which was originally meant to the attempts to rescue Qu Yuan.This lively and colourful tradition continued for centuries. Today, dragon boat races are held in various Taiwan cities such as Hsinchu, Tainan, Taipei, and Yilan.
Other than enjoying dragon boat races, people eat Zhongzi (rice dumpling), which is a glutinous rice ball wrapped in corn leaves with fillings of egg, beans, walnuts, mushrooms, and meat.
Travellers may find Zhongzi as a common delicacy in Taiwan, taste differently in a different area of Taiwan.
On the Dragon Boat Festival, hanging portraits of Zhong Kuei, calamus, and moxa on the front door are believed to keep evils away and bring peace.
Overall, the Dragon Boat Festival is not only a festival to commemorate a patriot, but also a chance for families and friends to get together.