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Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival 2020 and 2021

The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Festival, is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the fifth month the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Because of this, the holiday is often called the ‘double fifth’ festival. It is not a public holiday in Singapore but it is nevertheless a widely observed cultural event.

YearDateDayHoliday
202025 JunThuDragon Boat Festival
202114 JunMonDragon Boat Festival

Aside from watching dragon boats and their crews perform on the waves, Dragon Boat Festival involves other things like delicious foods. Triangular rice dumplings with tasty fillings are especially popular during the celebrations. Fillings include pork, water chestnuts, mushrooms, melons, and sweet palm sugar syrup.

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet and minister during the Zhou Dynasty Warring States period. He was a cadet member of the Chu royal house, but was banished and accused of treason when the king decided to ally with the state of Qin.

When the Chu capital was captured by Qin, Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Milou River. Legend has it that locals tried to race out in boats to save him or retrieve his body, which led to the dragon boat races. They also beat drums and pounded their paddles in the water during the rescue attempt. Each year, they continued the celebration, leading to the sport of dragon boating as well as the annual festival.