The national Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in memory of the great patriot, Qu Yuan of the Chu State in the Warring States period (475–221 BC), but the celebrations are held in various ways in different parts of China.
Fujian’s Zhangpu county and Shishi city celebrate this festival of patriotism in unique manner.
Noisy days for uninhabited island
Fotan town in Zhangpu county attracts 100,000 visitors from Taiwan and the mainland each year with its annual dragon boat race that lasts for days. This year, the race attracted more than 100 fishing vessels and dragon boats to participate on May 30.
The dragon boat race started in 1369 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and is now an important communal sport. In Fujian, it takes place along the Hongru River each year.
A small rocky island, 120 meters by 30 meters, at the estuary of the Hongru River, has been named after Qu Yuan since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), when the tradition of paddling dragon boats spread to the town.
There is a statue of Qu Yuan on the island. Before the race starts, participants pay tribute to the great patriot, creating the noisiest moments of the year to the otherwise quiet, unpopulated island.
Hospitable local fishermen take visitors on cruises along the Hongru River, where the race takes place, to cheer the participants.
This year the race attracted more than 100 fishing ships and dragon boats to participate, when taking place on May 30.
Water splashes at sea
It is the tradition of residents of Fujian’s Hanjiang and Taiwan’s Lukang to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival by splashing water at sea.
This year Hanjiang hosted the 11th Fujian-Taiwan sea-crossing festival and the Hanjiang seawater splashing festival on May 30, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Visitors from China’s Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, and Southeast Asian countries the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia attended the festivals.
Nearly 50 vessels took part in the water splashing event near Quanzhou Bay on the afternoon of May 30. Participants used washbasins and buckets to throw water at people on other boats to offer blessings for safe sea voyages and peaceful lives.
The seaside town of Hanjiang is an important part of the history of Quanzhou’s seaborne commerce, which left cultural relics such as Liusheng Pagoda in Shihu village and Linluan Ferry. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it became a gateway to Taiwan through sea routes linkingTaiwan’s Lukang, enhancing trade and cultural exchanges.
The maritime traffic between Lukang and Hanjiang is recorded on a stele at the site of the Qing Dynasty’s coastal defense department in Hanjiang. And the seawater splashing event originated in this historical period.
Nanyin, the oldest musical genre in China, mixesd local Fujian music and music from the Central Plains from the Han (206 BC–AD 220) to the Song (960-1279) dynasties. Nanyin music also served as a cultural tie among visitors. This year, 400 music enthusiasts belonging to 18 nanyin troupes from southern China and Southeast Asia celebrated the unique musical form with choruses and parades in Hanjiang.
Fotan town’s annual dragon boat race takes place along the Hongru River on May 30 this year. [Photo/Xinhua]