The Duanwu Festival 端午节 (Chinese), Danoje Festival 단오제 (Korean) or Tet Doan Ngo Festival Tết Đoan Ngọ (Vietnamese) is often known as the Dragon Boat Festival in western countries. It is a traditional festival in Asia, which occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar.
The festival is mainly celebrated in Mainland China, certain areas in Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and other areas in Asia.
The meaning and origin of Dragon Boat Festival varies depending on who you ask, from commemorating famous poets to worshiping gods. Ask your HelloTalk language exchange partners about their interpretation!
(Dragon Boat Racing)
Dragon boat races are perhaps the most popular activity to participate in or watch during the festival. These boats are dragon shaped and driven by paddlers, while a drummer cheers them on at the front of the boat.
Besides racing dragon boats, people eat sticky rice dumpling wrapped in leaves. This is called Zongzi (Chinese) or Bánh tro (Vietnamese).
In addition, some areas have a custom of eating sour fruit like plums or hanging antiseptic herbs on the side of door to ward away misfortunes.
In certain areas of Korea, however, people have totally different customs. They often wash their hair with herbal water or eat surichui rice cakes made by rice flour and herbs to celebrate Danoje Festival.
（Surichui rice cake）
Especially in Gangneung, there are many traditional ceremonies. Gangneung Danoje is designated as part of South Korea’s “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by the UN.
These are just a few of the most common customs today, but there in fact many more. Even in the same country, people in different areas often celebrate Dragon Boat Festival differently. The best way to learn about these customs is to ask your language partners about them!
Here’s how to say “Happy Dragon Boat Festival” to your HelloTalk language exchange partners and international friends:
“Tết Đoan Ngọ Vui Vẻ!” (VIE)