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Dragon Boat Festival Gets Set to Roar 2019-04-01
According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar every year on May 5 the traditional Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Double 5th Day, gets set to roar. In China there are many traditional ways to celebrate the festival some of which include eating Zongzi, wearing Xiangnang (a perfumed bag containing herbal medicines used to ward off evil spirits and diseases) and hanging mugwort branches on the door. 

However in Hangzhou the locals have their own unique way in which to honour the festival. Held in Xixi Wetlands consecutively for the last eight years is the wondrous Dragon Boat Festival which this year, in addition to the noted Dragon Boat Racing, will host on June 20 a series of interactive activities guaranteed to provide visitors with a roaring Dragon Boat show.

Watching Dragon Boat Racing and Savouring Dragon Boat Delicacies
In Xixi every village has their own dragon boat and the history of villagers following the tradition of Dragon Boat racing can be traced back to some 500 years ago. Legend has it that Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) passed by Xixi during an inspection to Jiangnan Region where upon he witnessed a dragon boat race. Greatly impressed by the spectacular scene he bestowed the race the name ‘Long Zhou Sheng Hui (龙舟胜会)’ which literally means the feast of dragon boats.

The ‘Long Zhou Sheng Hui’ ritual includes drinking dragon boat wine, inviting the Dragon King (the divine ruler of water), tying red silk around the bow of a dragon boat, dragon boat racing and paying respect to the king of dragon. For a glimpse of this ritual people can come to the opening ceremony of ‘Long Zhou Sheng Hui’ in the morning of June 20.

Eating Dragon Boat delicacies after Dragon Boat racing is also a popular custom practiced among villagers in Xixi. The rice for the meal is prepared out of glutinous rice, broad beans and ham and the five dishes, all yellow in colour, are yellow eel, yellow croaker, yellow cucumber, yellow yolk of salted duck egg and yellow wine. Some people believe that if you eat this Dragon Boat meal the forthcoming year will be smooth and full of luck. So for some Dragon Boat spirit and success for the following year try savouring the festival’s most renowned specialities.

China Elite School Dragon Boat Race

From June 1 to June 20, the ‘Dream Village Cup’ boat race will be held in Hongyuan Garden of Xixi. The race involves a series of activities including Cheerleading Competition and Elite School Dragon Boat Racing. The climax of the event is on June 20 from 15:00 to 17:00 when dragon boat teams from C9 League (Chinese equivalent of Ivy League Universities), colleges in Hangzhou and Dream Village will all be competing for the Dream Village Cup.

Engaging in Folk Customs

From June 20 to June 22 visitors in Xixi will be able to participate in a number of folk customs, such as making Zongzi, embroidering Xiangnang and rowing dragon boats with family and friends. From June 20 to Sept. 20 on the grand lawns of Hongyuan Garden, a michelin-rated chef will be serving cold drinks in the dragon inspired ‘Jade Dragon Ice Bar’ and Fang Hui Chun Tang Pharmacy will be handing out a limited edition of 3000 Xiangnang.
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