Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival abroad

Editor’s Note:

The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu, is marked on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and falls on June 7 this year.

The festival is also celebrated in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as in Singapore and Malaysia, and countries influenced by traditional Chinese culture, like Vietnam.

Similar festivals outside Chinese-speaking societies include Tango no Sekku in Japan and the Gangneung Danoje Festival in South Korea.

1. Japan

Originally, the Duanwu Festival was called Tango no Sekku in Japan and celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar. However, after Japan switched to the Gregorian calendar, the date was moved to May 5 each year and the festival became a Children’s Day, which was designated as a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948. It celebrates children’s personalities and their happiness.

During the day, families fly carp-shaped koinobori banners, one for each child in their house. In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigor, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream. Samurai warrior figurines and samurai kabuto helmets are also displayed in homes to inspire strength and bravery.

In addition, people eat sticky rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves and drink calamus wine.

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