Dragon Boat Cultural Aspects

Details on cultural aspects of the DC Dragon Boat Festival can be found here.

Eye Dotting Ceremony
The Eye-Dotting Ceremony awakens the sleeping dragons and resuscitates the dragon boats with good spirits to provide ultimate enjoyment for all the racers.

Lion Dance
The lion is a symbol of "strength, courage and wisdom." The lion dance is performed during lunar New Years, openings of stores or restaurants, weddings, and various other celebrations and festivals (such as dragon boat festivals). The dance is to ward off any evil spirits and demons, so as to bring good luck, happiness and prosperity.

Zhong Zi
Zhong zi is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. Zhong zi are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. According to legend, packets of rice were thrown into the river to prevent the fish from eating Qu Yuan's body after jumping into the Mei Lo River. This is the basis of zhong zi being included in modern day dragon boat festivals.

Fangkou Lion
The Hakka "Fangkou Lion" is the mascot of Hakka culture. With its large, square shaped mouth, it is the symbol of fortune and good luck! For more information about the Fangkou Lion and Hakka culture, please see the attached file or stop by the booth at the 2022 Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival.

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