13th Miluo Int'l Dragon Boat Festival

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Themed ¡°Our Holiday¡ªDuanwu¡±, the 13th China (Miluo) International Dragon Boat Festival will be held on May 13 in Miluo, Yueyang. Now all participating teams are practicing hard.  

Duanwu Festival is also known as Dragon Boat Festival.

Miluo is known as the ¡°Origin of Dragon Boat Festival, and Hometown of Dragon Boat Race¡±. It has organized the annual China (Miluo) International Dragon Boat Festival for 12 consecutive years.

During the upcoming festival, three theme activities will be held: Duanwu-themed art performances; Miluo international dragon boat race; and, the opening ceremony of Qu Yuan Cultural Park.

These activities are hosted by the Central Commission for Guiding Ethic and Cultural Progress, and undertaken by the Hunan Commission for Guiding Ethic and Cultural Progress, CCTV-7, Hunan Broadcasting System, the CPC Yueyang Municipal Committee, the Yueyang Municipal People's Government, the CPC Miluo Municipal Committee, and Miluo Municipal People's Government.

An organizing committee director introduced that the festival will promote traditional Chinese culture, showcase civilization achievements, and encourage the public to participate in ¡°Our Holiday¡± events, so as to promote Miluo¡¯s unique advantages and charm. Beyond that, sightseers and investors are welcomed, to boost the city¡¯s social, economic and cultural advances.

¡¾Review¡¿The 12th China (Miluo) International Dragon Boat Festival (2016)
A total of 20 teams, exclusively made up of local villagers, commenced the 500-meter straightway racing at Miluo International Dragon Boat Race Center, offering a fantastic dragon boat feast to thousands of visitors from home and abroad.

With the inspiring drum beating at 8:40 am, 12 standard dragon boats teams, four traditional ones and four small ones started their show tour along the Miluo River. Spectators at the bank cheered for their teams. At the main stage of performance square, 146 high school students in traditional Han costume was chanting Qu Yuan's poetry lines from Lisao (Encountering Sorrow). The chanting was so resounding and passionate as if it came from the sky and local audiences couldn't help joining. Later, a dance about the scene of wrapping up glutinous rice with reed leafs well demonstrated to visitors the unique local Duanwu (Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar) customs along the Miluo River that have been passed down for more than two thousand years.

¡¾Review¡¿The 10th China (Miluo) International Dragon Boat Festival (2014) 
Fifteen dragon boat teams from Yueyang, Loudi, and Yiyang, and tens of thousands of domestic and overseas visitors celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival along the Miluo River bank.

After preliminary contest, intermediary contest, and semifinals, 500-meter straightaway speed-competition final started. After fierce competition, Miluo Quzi Dragon Boat Team of Yueyang, Lianyuan Dragon Boat Team of Loudi, and Yuanjiang Dragon Boat Team of Yiyang were the top, runner-up, and second runner-up respectively, qualified for the provincial final contest.

This event lasts seven days. A series of theme activities including Dragon Boat Festival temple fair, folk custom program exhibition, and flower drum opera cultural art exhibition week are being staged, providing tourists with a folk custom feast of original taste and with unique Hunan characteristics.

¡¾Review¡¿The 6th China (Miluo) International Dragon Boat Festival (2010) 
11 dragon boat teams from home and abroad gave put on their wonderful performances there. Meanwhile, a certificate presentation ceremony was held, for as the folk customs of Duanwu Festival (or Dragon Boat Festival) along Miluo River have been recognized as the world's intangible cultural heritage.

Secretary of the Yueyang Municipal CPC Party Committee Secretary Yi Lianhong pointed out that since dragon boat racing is a long-established traditional custom adopted by Miluo people to celebrate Duanwu Festival, the promotion of dragon boat racing will help to spread traditional Chinese culture and construct a cooperative exchange platform for the creative development of Miluo Quzi culture while advancing the process of building Miluo City (prefecture-level) into a strong cultural city county and Hunan Province into a prosperous province.

Origin of the Festival 
A portrait of Qu Yuan [file photo]

Legend has it that the Miluo River is the place where Qu Yuan drowned himself. In memory of this patriotic poet, the locals threw Zongzi (rice dumplings) into the river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Besides, large-scale dragon boat races would be held, for which Miluo River bustled with gongs and drums and numerous dragon boats.

Today, the Dragon Boat Festival in Miluo usually lasts from the first day to the fifteenth day of the fifth lunar month. Besides eating Zongzi, inserting Artemisia argyi, drinking realgar liquor and holding dragon boat races, people in Miluo have other special customs like launching dragon boat, rowing to worship at Quyuan Temple, and offering sacrifice to dragon and to Qu Yuan. All these activities are full of local features.  

Chinese source: yueyang.gov.cn