You may have heard of this day as for the “Dragon Boat Festival”. That is exciting to watch and participate, but it is a lazy interpretation for one of the 4 main holidays on Chinese lunar/farmer’s calendar.
Tradition says that we race dragon boats and throw 粽子 “Chinese tamale” into rivers to commemorate a great patriot and poet that lived in the “warring states” period of Chinese history – 屈原 qu yuan 340~278 BC. He had great ideas and plans for his duke to guard against a neighbor who was to become the first emperor of China. However, his patriotism was in the way of other opportunists schemes to riches. So he was booted out of the court even though he had demonstrated great promise. While in despair over not given the chance to help his duke and countrymen to defend against enemy state’s attack, he threw himself into the river with a rock. Supposedly this is why people started racing boats and threw rice stuff in bamboo sticks into the river to protect his body against hungry fishes.
So instead of commercialization of the dragon boat races and the “Chinese tamale” that we cannot eat enough of, we should be thinking about how to discern those who are doing patriotic deeds versus those says they are patriotic but have ulterior motives.