Near the summer solstice, communities across China gather to race boats, many adorned with painted carvings of dragons.
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It’s clear to see how Duanwu Jie, China’s summer solstice holiday, got its English-language name—the Dragon Boat Festival. Around the fifth day of the fifth month on the traditional Chinese calendar, people gather to race boats adorned with brightly-painted carvings of dragons. Designs and types of contest vary widely. Some races are intense athletic challenges, while other events are more of a community get-together. Stories link the festival with the poet Qu Yuan, born in the late fourth century B.C. Said to be an able minister of the Chu state who was banished from the court, Qu Yuan despaired at his rivals’ corruption, and at last drowned himself in a river. By legend, an ensuing search for Qu by boat inspired the day’s races.
Read more in "Go Inside China's Lively Dragon Boat Festival Celebrations"
Dragon Boat Races Celebrate China's Ancient Past | National Geographic