|Having written Huai Sha, Qu Yuan went to the River Miluo, picked up a large rock to weigh himself down and threw himself into the river on the 5th of the 5th month in the Chinese lunar calendar in 278 BC.
The people in the village were devastated. Men went out in their boats and looked for his body. People lined the banks searching for the poet and to prevent his body being eaten by fish or dragons, they threw balls of rice into the waters to feed the fish so they wouldn't feed off Qu Yuan's body. They poured alcohol into the waters to make the fish drunk for the same reason.
Each year on the 5th of the 5th month in the Chinese lunar calendar people in China celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, make zongzi, and drink a special wine called reaglar to commemorate Qu Yuan's honor and integrity. The boats are small paper boats bearing candles in some observances, in others boats decorated as dragons race one another. The dragon boat race is considered a sport now, and many cities award challenge cups.
Last update: September 2009 2008
© Marilyn Shea, 2009