Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dragon Boat Festival

Today is a holiday here in Taiwan. It's the Dragon Boat Festival. According to the legend, the festival is to commemorate a man named Qu Yuan. He lived about 2500 years ago in China. He was a very wise man who served the emperor and was shrewd at stamping out corruption. His dedication to rooting out the wrong-doing antagonized many of the other leading officials. The influence that these not-so-happy officials had was enough to convince the emperor to exile Qu Yuan. During his exile he traveled far and taught others his ideas. Many years later he got word that the leadership of China that he supported was soundly defeated by another clan. Upon hearing the news, he took his own life by jumping into a river. Many Chinese loved and respected this man. When news spread of his death thousands of people jumped in their boats and sped to find the spot where he jumped so they could recover his body. His body was never found. People found relief by tossing Zongzi (a kind of dumpling) and eggs into the river.

Today the holiday is celebrated by dragon boat races and dining on Zongzi.

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