Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese festival held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar (varying from late May to June on the modern Gregorian calendar). Commonly known as “Duan Wu” in Chinese, this unique occasion is grandly celebrated everywhere in China and also observed in various other parts of East Asia as "Double Fifth Day". In the West, it is popularly known as “Dragon Boat Festival” and is typically celebrated during the summer months with dragon boat races and competitions being the focus of the activities.  Dragon Boats are painted traditionally green, red, yellow, white, and black. Dragons are powerful of full of good luck, so the Dragon boat races spread good luck.

Here is a great coloring page of a Dragon Boat (here).
Crayola shows how to make Dragon Boat Puppets (here).
I printed out two Dragon Boat cut outs for the kids to color, assemble and race (find it here).

Children on that day wear bracelets of five different colors to protect against Evil, they are called the Five Poison or Wu Du charms.  It is the favorite decoration of this festival. According to Chinese custom, the "double fifth" is the hottest day of the month, when all the poisonous vapors are in the air, so every attempt is made to harmonize yin and yang so that danger and disease can be avoided. The Five Poison Charm is made up of a snake, centipede, scorpion, lizard, toad and sometimes spider. It was thought that the strength of the 4 poisons would counteract the poison of one. It is embroidered on clothing, stamped on cakes, engraved on charms, and used for decorations.  You can read more about the Five Poisons here and print a a Five Posions coloring sheet here.

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