INTERESTING DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL CUSTOMS ACROSS CHINA
On the day of Dragon Boat festival, it is a taboo to fetch water from a well, because it is believed that the water could be poisonous. Therefore, people fetch water on the day before the festival.
In Sichuan, a province in South West of China, four people work as a group and use two bamboo poles to carry a big square desk covered with a red carpet. On that carpet sits a bamboo-made statue of a Taoist riding a tiger. The sound of gongs and drums accompany these people as they march in the street.
In Hunan, rich families with pregnant women throw auspicious coins into a jar of wine and then put the jar on the head of a dragon boat and pray for the successful birth of an heir, while, those families who are not as affluent would prepare chicken and wine instead as sacrifice. People also make straw boats and let them float away as a symbol of expelling God of Plague.
In Taiwan, Duanwu is also called Wuri (Meaning Fifth Day) Festival. People believe that if you can balance a raw egg on its end at exactly noon on the day, you will be lucky for the rest of the year.
Another custom practiced in Taiwan is “fetching noon water”, in which people draw well water on the afternoon of the festival in the belief that it will cure all illness.
During the annual Dragon Boat Festival, the famous Tai O Dragon Boat Water Parade is held. Three fishermen associations in Tai O, the tranquil fishing village in west Lantou, organise a religious activity known as a “Deities Parade”.
On the day, the deity statues are put on sacred sampans towed by the dragon boats of the associations to parade through Tai O and to pacify the wandering water ghosts. Residents of the stilt houses along the water-course burn paper offerings as the dragon boats pass by. The deity statues are then returned to the respective temples after the ritual.