Monday, June 9, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival and Olympic Torch Relay

The Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wei Jie) is on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar and was officially celebrated June 8. Since this is one of the restored traditional folk holidays, schools and government offices were closed Monday June 9. The origin of the festival has several versions. One of its origins revolve around the use of dragon images in the warring of evil spirits (the 5th month and the 5th day is considered unlucky). Dragon boat racing is the main activity. The much more popular activity is the eating of zongzi - glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. Another purpose of the festival is to honor the poet Qu Yuan. It's also considered a patriotic festival emphasizing loyalty and commitment to the community. We didn't do any boat racing, but we did enjoy some zongzi.

The rice was sweet and tasted good:

The Olympic Torch relay came through Kunming today. It was originally scheduled for June 5 but was delayed because of the country's three day period of mourning for the earthquake victims last month. So the relay just happened to fall on a holiday. The relay itself was from about 6am to 9am and the route came fairly close to us. But, we had no desire to fight the crowds just to see a torch go by, so we remained happly snug in our beds.

The city was alive this weekend with guys like these two selling flags:

Preparations along the downtown portion of the relay route:

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