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Huangling Celebrates Dragon Boat Festival with Ancient Huizhou Customs

June 5, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Hailed as China’s most beautiful countryside, Huangling celebrated the country’s Dragon Boat Festival with a series of unique Huizhou traditional performances to honor the region’s culture, history and folk customs.To present a comprehensive, unique Dragon Boat Festival experience to visitors, the people of Huangling organized events such as drawing the character wang (or “king”) on children’s foreheads with realgar wine to exorcise evil spirits, sewing silk scent bags filled with garlic and mugwort to repel diseases, and performing the ancient Hui-style tiao zhong kui dance for good blessings.

The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Festival, came about as a way to commemorate the life and death of poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), a loyal minister in the ancient state of Chu who committed ritual suicide in protest of the corruption of the era. The festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar.

The Dragon Boat Festival is also called the ‘Health Festival’ in Huizhou region because locals would incorporate rituals to drive away the plagues and diseases that normally arrive with the humid summer weather. Every local household places mugwort on their door and hang strings of garlic under their roof while sprinkling realgar wine in damp corners to kill germs; it’s an ancient tradition that is meant to bring about health and prosperity.

The locals would also burn strong-scented pine cones and sweet gum fruits picked from the mountains to repel mosquitoes and bugs.

In most places across China, zongzi, or sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, is the staple dish for the holiday. But in Huangling, locals get together with family members to prepare qigao, an airy and fluffy steamed rice cake served with savory toppings like shrimp, pork and bean curd sheets.

“The town’s rich history and cultural heritage are treasures passed on from one generation to another; to visitors from urban areas they are reminiscent of a bygone era,” said Cao Jinzhong, executive vice president of Wuyuan Rural Culture Development Co., Ltd.

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