Adventures at Matheran Hill Station
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Matheran is a Hill Station located near Mumbai, Karjat.   It is located 800 meters above sea level in the Jambol Forest of Maharashtra.  It was found by Hugh Poynts Malet in May 1850.  It spreads over an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri Mountains.  It is one of the best places to spend a two-day holiday if you are in Mumbai or in the vicinity of Mumbai or its suburbs.  To reach Matheran,  [...]

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Festive Experiences at the Dragon Boat Festival

Posted on May 2, 2012 | FestivalsNo Comment

Come to China and enjoy the pleasures of the Dragon Boat Festival which takes place in the province of Hunan in China on the fifth day of the fifth Lunar month. This is also called the Duanwu and falls on June 23 in the year 2012.

There are many places to see this festival and the best ones are the River Mi Lo along the River Yangstze. Come here and see the lovely procession of drums as all the locals gather with a lot of drum beating and also with many boats which are decorated well and are seen floating here. With lot of food and zongzi dumplings, aka hsiung huang the local wine is very common here. The Dragon Boat Race is a very exciting experience with the winning team hanging from the Dragon Head on their boat and grabbing the victory flag. The celebrations go on till late into the night with a lot of fireworks and great traditional Chinese dancing as entertainment.

Dragon Boat Festival

It is said that in the year 278 BC Qu Yuan who was a local of the Chu State flung himself into the river as he wanted to protest against the inavasion of the states by the Qin state. The villagers were very disappointed and they took their fishing boats to save him from the evil spirits with a lot of drum beating. Qin had plans to conquer all the Chinese states.

Dragon Boat Festival is also known as the Duanwu Festival and is a great occasion in this part of the world. It is in fact a traditional holiday. It is linked with a lot of South East Asian societies and East Asian societies. This is called Duanwuin in Mandarin, Tuen Ng festival in Cantonese, it was recognized as a public holiday in the year 1940 and this festival is also celebrated in the countries of Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. There are many related festivals in the continent of Asia which are inclusive of the Kodomo no hi in Japan. Tet Doan Ngo in Vietnam, Dano in Korea.

The festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar and this is what the Chinese calendar is based on. So the other name of the festival is also Double Fifth. Duanwu or the fifth day changes from year to year as the lunar calendar has either 29 or 30 days. The moon is said to be the strongest during this time of the summer solstice and is called mid summer in traditional areas of Japan. The sun is considered as the yang and the dragon the long. It represents masculine energy and the moon or the yue represents feminine energy like the phoenix, fenghuang, and firebird. Summer solstice is said to be the time when the male energy is maximum. Winter solstice is the time when the feminine energy is maximum. So Duanwu is linked to the masculine dragon image.

Dragon Boat Festival

There are many theories which govern the festival and there are innumerable explanatory myths and folk traditions which are linked to the observation. The most popular myth is that that connects to the suicide of the 278 BCE statesman Qu Yuan during the Warring States period.

There is another traditional story that is linked to the festival and this is that the festival is held in reverence of the poet Qu Yuan of the ancient state of Chu. Qu used to serve in the high offices and belonged to the Chu royal house. It is said that Qu was banished for cheating and wrote a lot of poetry during that time. Then he committed suicide in the Milo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Till today local people admire him. It is said that in those days the people dropped sticky rice triangles wrapped in leaves of bamboo into the river to give to Qu Yuan in his afterlife. So that is the reason people in China eat the zongzi during the Dragon Boat Festival. It is also said that the locals used boats to retrieve his body or to scare the fish away. Thus the origin of boat racing began.

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