Chinese Culture Adventure: Dragon Boat Festival – Duān Wǔ Jié 端午節

Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month on the Chinese lunar calendar.  Chinese people call the Dragon Boat Festival – Duan Wǔ Jié 端午節.  It is summer time when the Dragon Boat Festival comes.  Let’s take a look at the Dragon Boat Festival celebration in Taiwan.  Miss Panda finally got to see the Dragon Boat Race in person.  Ge Ge 哥哥and Mei Mei 妹妹with the whole family took the challenge to participate in the standing the eggs game at noon.  it was an amazing experience and WE DID IT!  Let’s look at the pictures, learn the facts about Dragon Boat Festival and experience this culture adventure.

Dragon Boat Race

Dragon Boat Race

Question:  What is Dragon Boat Festival?

Chinese people call Dragon Boat Festival –  Duān Wǔ Jié (端午節).  It is a day to commemorate the patriotic poet, Qu Yuan (屈原) from the Warring States period (戰國時代) of China.  A story that Chinese children enjoy on this day is the story of the White Snake (Bái shé chuán 白蛇傳).

Question:  When is Dragon Boat Festival?

Answer: This festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar. Check out the dates from 2016 to 2019.

Jun 9, 2016 | May 30, 2017 | June 18, 2018 | June 7, 2019

Question:  What activities do Chinese children do on Dragon Boat Festival?

Answer: Chinese children watch the dragon boat race, wear sachets with Chinese herb powder insert and play the game of standing the eggs at noon.

Game of standing the eggs

Game of standing the eggs

I did it!

I did it!

Question:  What food do Chinese people eat on Dragon Boat Festival?

Answer: Chinese people eat Rice balls wrapped in the bamboo leaves with various fillings inside.  These rice dumplings are called Z̀ong Zi 粽子 in Mandarin Chinese.  People cook them in two different ways, they are either steamed or boiled.   There are salty filling with meat, sweet filling with red bean paste, or plain one without any filling inside.   Traditionally, this is the day to drink realgar wine.  For kids, the adults will put a dot of realgar wine  (yellowish color) on their foreheads to prevent disease and evil spirit.

Standing the eggs at noon on Dragon Boat Festival

Standing the eggs at noon on Dragon Boat Festival

Words and Phrases to know about Dragon Boat Festival – Duān Wǔ Jié – 端午節

1. Dragon Boat Festival – Duān wǔ jié 端午節
2. The patriotic poet commemorated on the Dragon Boat Festival – Qū Yuán 屈原
3. Drgaon – lóng
4. Dragon boat – lóng zhōu 龍舟 or lóng chuán 龍船

5. Dragon Boat Race – huà lóng zhōu 划龍舟
6. Rice balls that people make and eat on the Dragon Boat Festival – zòng zi 粽子
7. to eat a rice ball – chī zòng zi 吃粽子
8. Sachets that children wear on Dragon Boat Festival – xiāng bāo 香包
9. to wear a sachet – dài xiāng bāo 戴香包
10. The plant that hangs on the doors on Dragon Boat Festival – wormwood – ài cǎo 艾草


Perfumed sachets at the market

Perfumed sachets at the market

Making sachets with Chinese medicine at home

Making sachets with Chinese medicine at home

Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

端午節快樂! = Duān wǔ jié kuài lè! = 端午节快乐!

Learning resources for Dragon Boat Festival

Books: 5 Children’s Books about the Dragon Boat Festival

Culture: The savory treat of the Dragon Boat Festival and the aunties who make them

Story: The Story of the Dragon Boat Festival in animation (short animation for chidlren)

Food: Cooking with Grace: How to Make Rice Dumplings = Zhong Zi 粽子 (video)

History: More about Dragon Boat Festival

Story: Legend of the White Snake

Sotry : The Story of the Dragon Boat Festival (in Chinese characters and pin yin with audio in Mandarin Chinese)

Craft: Dragon Boat Festival Coloring pages with storylines

Craft: Make a Boat – craft pattern

Craft: Make a origami boat – video


*Post updated in 2016*

Author: Amanda Chia-Chen Hsiung-Blodgett, Miss Panda

©2013-2016 Chia Chen Hsiung-Blodgett / Miss Panda Chinese All Rights Reserved. 



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Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett
Amanda “Miss Panda” is the founder of Miss Panda Chinese and author of the "Let's Learn Mandarin Chinese with Miss Panda!" CD/MP3 audio program. Amanda is a dynamic language instructor with over 15 years language teaching experience. She created Miss Panda Chinese to share teaching materials that she has developed and used in the classroom and at home with parents and teachers who are also on the exciting bilingual education journey.
  1. What a great Chinese language learning resource! I would love to take my children to a Dragon Boat Festival. It looks like great fun.

    • Miss Panda

      It was a wonderful experience to participate in the event. If you have a chance do make sure you can row the dragon boat with a team.

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