On June 16, 2010 in China will be held one of the three major holidays of the country - Duanwu Jie, which is often called the holiday of double-fives, a holiday of Duan Yang, or the Poet Day. This festival is held annually on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the lunar calendar (around on the day of the summer solstice) and the main event of the day is the Dragon Boat race. This is a very ancient festival, which has more than 2.5 thousand-year history and its traditions. On this day is eaten sunjie - pyramid of rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, and neatly dressed children wear on the neck colored amulets depicting a tiger or dragon filled with wormwood. According to the legend, such amulets repel evil spirits and bring good luck. The boat races are held on dragon boats, which are called so because of its design. Its heads and sterns are made in the form of the head and tail of the dragon, while boats themselves are long and narrow, resembling the body of the dragon. The construction of such boats was a ritual taking place in the courtyard of the temple, where during the construction women were not allowed to enter because it was believed that the boat may capsize because of the woman’s view. After completion of the dragon boats were sanctified by a Taoist or Buddhist monk. Before launching boat into the water were thrown peach tree branches and bamboo trunks filled with rice and soybeans. The crew of the boat consists of 24 - 30 rowers and one drummer, who set the rhythm.
There are several versions of a Duanwu Jie. According to one of them a holiday was born on the banks of rivers in the valleys of southern China as a rite to cause heavy rains and a bumper crop, as well as to expel evil spirits from local villages. According to another legend, Duanwu Jie is organized in honor of the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who drowned in the river Mi Lo as a protest against local authorities. Learning of this, local residents came to the river to save a poet, they beat into the drums to scare away fish and threw into the water boiled rice to fish to save his body.
Currently, Duanwu Jie Festival with is a public holiday, and races on dragon boats have become popular not only in China but also in many other countries.