Duanwu 端午節 - Dragon Boat Festival 2016

Duanwu 端午節 - Dragon Boat Festival 2016The Dragon Boat Festival ( 端午節 ), also often known as the Tuen Ng or Duanwu Festival, is a traditional and statutory holiday originating in China. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar, the source of its alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In 2012, it fell on June 23; in 2013, on June 12; and in 2014, it occurred on June 2. The focus of most celebrations involves eating zongzi (sticky rice treats wrapped in bamboo leaves), drinking realgar wine (雄黃酒, xiónghuángjiǔ), and racing dragon boats.

Duanwu 端午節 - Dragon Boat Festival 2016The sun is considered to be at its strongest around the time of summer solstice, as the daylight in the northern hemisphere is the longest. The sun, like the Chinese dragon, traditionally represents masculine energy, whereas the moon, like the phoenix, traditionally represents feminine energy. The summer solstice is considered the annual peak of male energy while the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, represents the annual peak of feminine energy. The masculine image of the dragon was thus naturally associated with Duanwu.

Duanwu 端午節 - Dragon Boat Festival 2016The usual English name for the holiday, "Dragon Boat Festival," directly translates into two alternative Chinese names for the holiday, Lóngchuánjié and Lóngzhōujié. The official Chinese name of the festival is 端午节 on the mainland and 端午節 in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Macao. This is pronounced variously in different Chinese dialects. In Mandarin, it is romanized as Duānwǔjié on the mainland and Taiwan; in Cantonese, it is romanized as Tuen1 Ng5 Jit3 on Hong Kong and Tung1 Ng5 Jit3 on Macao. All of these names (lit. "Opening the Seventh") refer to its original position as the first seventh-day (午日, Wǔrì) in the fifth month (五月, Wǔyuè) of the traditional Chinese calendar, which was also known as 午 (Wǔ).

Duanwu 端午節 - Dragon Boat Festival 2016Both the People's Republic and the Republic of China use "Dragon Boat Festival" as the official English translation of the holiday, while Hong Kong calls it the "Tuen Ng Festival" and Macao calls it "Dragon Boat Festival (Tun Ng)" in English and Festividade do Barco-Dragão (Tung Ng) in Portuguese. Among Malaysian, Singaporean, and Taiwanese Hokkien speakers, the festival is also known as the "Fifth Month Festival," the "Fifth Day Festival," and the "Dumpling Festival." In Indonesian, the festival is known as "Peh Cun", which is derived from the Hokkien phrase 扒船 (Hokkien POJ: pê-tsûn; Hanyu Pinyin: bā chuán).

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