The annual Dragon Boat Festival 端午節, held this year on June 14, 2021, is a public holiday in China with a history of more than 2,000 years. Several legends describe the origin of the festival. The most popular one commemorates the life and death of the famous poet and politician Qu Yuan and his patriotic love of country.
Qu Yuan (340–278 BC) was a patriotic poet and a loyal official of the state of Chu during the Warring States Period. Qu Yuan, born in a ruling family, served in high offices and was the number one advisor of the Kingdom of Chu. He dedicated his life to assist the King to build the State of Chu stronger.
He advised the King to ally with the State of Qi (one of the seven warring states: Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei, and Qin) in order to fight against the most powerful State of Qin. However, he was slandered by jealous officials and accused of treason. The King dismissed and exiled him. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of enduring poems showing his love and passion for his country, some of which are still very famous in China.
In 278 BC, the Qin State conquered the capital of Chu. On hearing of the defeat, Qu Yuan in great despair committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. When they heard of Qu Yuan's death, the local people were very sad, and rowed out on the river to search for his body, but were unable to find him. To preserve his body, the locals paddled their boats up and down the river, hitting the water with their paddles and beating drums to scare evil spirits away. They threw lumps of rice into the river to feed the fish, so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body.
An old Chinese doctor poured realgar wine into the river to poison the monsters and to protect Qu Yuan. Realgar wine (Xionghuang wine) consisted of huangjiu ("yellow wine") dosed with powdered realgar, a yellow-orange arsenic sulfide mineral (As4S4).
Since then, people throughout China have followed similar practices to commemorate Qu Yuan. Gradually, rowing boats developed into dragon boat racing which attracts athletes from around the world. The lumps of rice became sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) traditionally eaten during the festival, and fine wines are now drunk in commemoration of the great patriot Qu Yuan.
Wing Hop Fung Celebrates Dragon Boat Festival with wines and liquors to suit your tastes.
Enjoy a fine sparkling wine from France or California. Find them and more at: Sparkling + Wine
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Although the legendary origins of the Dragon Boat Festival vary regionally, they all involve some of the most important traditions in Chinese culture like virtue, spirit, loyalty, honor, and love. No less important are fun, family, health, wellness and good tasting foods and wines.