Duan Wu Jie – Looking for Something Fun to Do?

Looking for something to do this weekend? Have Chinese neighbors or classmates you would like to get to know?

Go to a Dragon Boat Festival with them!

端午节 (duān wǔ jié) is a Chinese public holiday and is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar. That is June 20th this year, in case you aren’t up on your lunar calendar! Typically, people celebrate the festival by eating 粽子 (zòng zi), which are yummy sticky rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves, and by racing dragon boats.

The holiday commemorates and early Chinese poet named Qu Yuan (屈原) who lived during the Warring States period. Qu was banished when the emperor allied with the political enemies of his patrons and much of his poetry was written during his exile. In the end, Qu was caught by his enemies and rather than be dishonored, Qu committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.

Many of the holiday traditions arise from legends surrounding the local people’s response to his death. Stories are told that many of the local townspeople used boats to try to rescue Qu (the origin of the boat race), and when they were unsuccessful, they put sticky rice balls into the river to distract the fish from eating his body (the origin of zòng zi). Similar to President’s Day, Duan Wu is a significant public holiday for Chinese, but typically not one with a deep emotional connection.

For many years, Asian-American communities across the nation have held dragon boat races on or near the holiday, and these festivals can be a really fun way to connect with your Chinese neighbors. The festivals are usually bright, colorful, and lively; they also tend to be easy points of culturally connection for majority-culture Americans. Who doesn’t love good food and exciting competition on a beautiful summer day?

If you’ve been following our blog and are starting to get an itch to engage the Chinese communities in your city, this is one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to do so. Ask your classmates or neighbors that you’ve been trying to get to know about it, and I bet they are going and would love to take you along. They might even be racing themselves!

In this post you can find a compilation of dragon boat festivals held across the country. It is by no means exhaustive, so if you don’t see your city, just try searching online. Some of these festivals are truly wonderful and will be very much Chinese led and organized – a little taste of China. Our festival here in Boston is a major event and every Chinese international student I know goes and participates.

However, not all of these festivals will be the same – some may be organized by smaller Asian communities or by Americans who simply know the joy of dragon boat racing. Whatever the type of festival, go! and take a Chinese friend with you. Even if it feels a little culturally off for your friend (imagine going to a Chinese run Texas barbeque cook-off as a New Yorker and you get the idea), they will feel loved and appreciated if you show a genuine interest in and respect for their culture. It will bless and honor them to let them talk about their hometown traditions!

Have fun, have at it, and happy Duan Wu Jie from the China Partnership!


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Top 8 Dragon Boat Festivals in North America as listed by National Geographic:

Boston – http://www.bostondragonboat.org/

Denver – http://www.cdbf.org/

New York – http://www.hkdbf-ny.org/

Ottawa – http://www.dragonboat.net/

Portland – http://www.rosefestival.org/event/dragon-boat-races/2015-06-07

San Fransisco – http://www.sfdragonboat.com/index.php

Toronto – http://dragonboats.com/

Vancouver, Canada – http://dragonboatbc.ca/?rta

 

Dragon Boat Festival links nationwide:

Atlanta – http://www.dragonboatatlanta.com/

Austin – http://www.atxdragonboat.com/

Baltimore – http://www.baltimoredragonboatclub.com/

Charleston, SC – http://www.charlestondragonboatfestival.com/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1119657

Charlotte – http://www.charlottedragonboat.com/

Chattanooga – http://www.paddleforchildrenshospital.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1120253

Chicago – http://www.gwndragonboat.com/Default.asp?id=200&l=1

Cleveland, OH – http://www.cledba.org/

Columbus – http://asian-festival.org/dragonboat/

Dallas – http://www.dfwdragonboatfestival.com/register.shtml

Houston – http://www.texasdragonboat.com/

Jacksonville – http://www.jacksonvilledragonboatfestival.com/

Kansas City – http://www.chinagardensociety-kc.org/dragonBoat.htm

Los Angeles (Long Beach) – http://www.lbdragonboat.com/

Louisville – http://www.louisvilledragonboat.com/

Miami – http://www.miamidragonboat.com/

Memphis – http://memphis.racedragonboats.com/

Milwaukee – http://www.milwaukeedragonboatfest.org/

Minneapolis – http://www.dragonfestival.org/

Nashville – http://nashvilledragonboat.org/

Oklahoma City – http://boathousedistrict.org/festivals-races/paddlefest-dragon-boat-festival/

Orlando – http://www.gwndragonboat.com/Default.asp?id=19&l=1

Pheonix – http://azdba.com/

Philadelphia – https://www.philadragonboatfestival.com/

Raleigh – http://dragonboatnc.wix.com/festival

San Diego – http://www.sddragonboatrace.com/

Seattle – http://seattledragonboatfestival.net/

St. Louis – http://www.gatewaydragonboat.org/

Tampa – http://www.panamdragonboat.com/

Tucson, Arizona – http://www.tucsonchinese.org/th_event/dragon-boat-festival-2/

Washington, DC – http://www.dragonboatdc.com/

 

Hannah Nation serves as the blog editor for the China Partnership. She is studying Church History at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and works part-time with China Outreach Ministries, serving students in the Boston metro area. She first traveled to China in 2005 and has cared deeply for the country and its church ever since. Follow her personal blog here.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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