- observed (adj.) 被遵行、奉行的；被紀念的
- patriot (n.) 愛國者
- minister (n.) 大臣
- desperation (n.) 絕望
- declination (n.) 衰弱
- to be green with envy (phr. v.) 十分忌妒；眼紅
- exiled (adj.) 流放的、放逐的
- overthrow (v.) 打敗、推翻
- to take one’s own life (phr. v.) 索取某人的性命
- sachet (n.) 香包
- disperse (v.) 驅趕、散開；分散
二、端午節的來歷 Brief History
The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the biggest, most observed festivals in Chinese culture. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar. Although there are many stories of the origin, the holiday is mainly to commemorate poet, Qu Yuan, who was also a very famous patriot. Qu Yuan was a minister of Emperor Zhou during the Zhou Dynasty, which was a time of desperation and declination for China.
Qu Yuan was very well-loved by the people and he was known for his wisdom, which made many other officials green with envy. These officials went around spreading rumors about Qu Yuan, which made its way to the emperor. The emperor believed the rumors and did not trust Qu Yuan anymore and eventually had Qu Yuan exiled. When the Zhou Dynasty was overthrown by the Qing Dynasty, Qu Yuan took his own life and jumped into the Milou River.
三、傳統及習俗 Customs and Activities
While there are many traditions and customs for the Dragon Boat Festival, we’ll focus on ones that are most popular and practiced today.
1. Dragon Boat Racing 划龍舟
This activity is to symbolize the people trying to disperse fish away from Qu Yuan’s body so that it would not be eaten. Dragon Boat racing has evolved into not only a widely celebrated activity, but also an international sport.
2. Eating Zongzi 吃粽子
Zongzi, or glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves (what a mouthful name), is symbolized in a way similar to that of Dragon Boat racing. To protect Qu Yuan’s body from being eaten by fish, people would feed the fish Zongzi instead. Of course, in modern times, rather than throw the delicacy into the water, people eat it in celebration of the festival. Zongzi from different regions also differ in taste and texture!
3. Carrying Sachets 戴香包
It is a custom to carry colorful silk sachets filled with herbs and other aromatics during the festival. This is said to ward off and protect people (typically children) from evil and bad spirits.
Sometimes it may be difficult for visitors and foreigners to understand some of the local culture and customs, and even more difficult trying to explain the origins and reasons behind such traditions. However, it’s always a good thing to remind friends (and yourself, too) to try and embrace, experience different local traditions and explore the different cultural landscapes around the world.