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Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

With summer in full swing, it is time to prepare for this year’s Dragon Boat Races. Called Duan Wu Jie in Chinese, the Dragon Boat Festival is normally held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Historically, this festival marked the beginning of summer and was celebrated to honor the gods in hopes of a good season. This year, the festival falls on June 23rd. While Hong Kong is said to be the best place to go to take part in the festivities, each major coastal city on the mainland holds its own colorful and exciting races that are sure to delight any visitor to China.

Xiamen, in Fujian Province, is arguably the best place on the mainland to take part in the Dragon Boat Festival. In the hilly coastal city’s Jimei District, crowds gather to cheer on the contestants in the Xiamen International Dragon Boat Race. Traditionally, small rice packets are thrown into the water during the races to appease the water gods and to ensure favorable weather for the summer season.

If in Shanghai for the festival, the most popular activity is eating zongzi, or glutinous rice triangles wrapped in bamboo leaves. Buy sweet or meat-filled zongzi in many locations around Shanghai during the festival. Day trips can be taken to nearby Suzhou or Hangzhou where races are held.

Just a train ride away from Beijing, Tianjin also holds dragon boat races along its major waterways. Afterwards, stop by Tianjin’s Food Street to snack on some zongzi.

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