Of the many festivals the Chinese brought with them to Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, the liveliest and most exotic is the Dragon Boat Festival.
The festival has been held for more than 2,000 years, commemorating the patriotic poet Qu Yuan. On this day, many traditional customs and activities are held, not just by the Chinese, but also people from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan.
Among the most exciting events that are held on this day is the Dragon Boat race. The traditional Chinese dragon’s imposing presence that is carved into the fore and stern of the boat captures your attention right away. As the rowers’ row, a team member sits beating a drum constantly, in order to maintain rowers’ tempo and coordination. The whole festival of music and drama is very exciting to watch.
Apart from the rowing contest, the Chinese cuisine served on that day is a reason to witness the Dragon Boat Festival. Eating Zongzhi (glutinous rice wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves) is a favourite activity as people often look forward to having this Asian delicacy year after year.
Another custom that is popular in China during this festival is the perfume pouch. Wearing a perfume pouch and tying a five-colour silk thread, according to folklore, protects children from evil. So on this day, children decorate their clothes with fragranced pouches.
Witnessing these festivals opens your mind to different cultures, beliefs and traditions of the world. So, pull out those packing bags; it’s time to explore the best of Chinese and Straits, and witness the Dragon Boat Festival.
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