The Dragon Boat Festival, attached to the Chinese legend recounting the death of Chinese poet Qu Yuan, is one of the other most important festivals in the Chinese calendar, besides their new year. Lucky for us, the Chinese community in Kolkata celebrate this festival with much fanfare, and all are invited to join in the celebrations. We’re definitely attending it, but if you need some coaxing then here are five reasons why you shouldn’t give this a miss.
Boat Races To Chinese Food: Here's Why You Must Attend The Dragon Boat Festival
A Rare Boat Race
Legend says that when Qu Yuan drowned himself in the river, commoners went racing in their boats to rescue his body. Now it’s a boat race and it’s a treat to reckon with. Because where else will you find such a scene, except for the cities of Oxford and Cambridge that still host boat races? Five colourful dragon-mouthed rowing boats brought in from Foshan, China will take over the lakes in the Boating Club and race against one another to flag off the celebrations. A rare event, we suggest you definitely don’t give this a miss.
A Spectacular Lion Dance
An essential part of most Chinese cultural and religious festivals is the energetic and colourful lion dance. Known to bring in good luck and fortune, the dance is a spectacular performance to witness as colourful giant puppets mimic a lion and tell a legendary tale. Accompanied with beating drums and gongs, this one is worth a dekko and a video capture!
Chinese Folk Dance
The festival itinerary has been kept tightly under wraps, but we managed to sneak out some itty-bitty news. Of the several things that’s lined up for the festival, there are at least three types of Chinese folk dances that we’ll get to watch. The ‘Blooming Camelia’, a traditional dance form celebrating the spring flower, is an integral part of this festival that’s known to herald the summer solstice. Besides this, there’ll be the Yi folk dance narrative and the beautiful Dai folk dance.
A new thing to watch out this time in the festival is the Kongzhu or the Chinese yo-yo. A popular sport in China, Kongzhu is included in most festivities nowadays. With colourful kongzhus in hands Chinese girls will perform traditional oriental folk games to enthrall the crowd.
An integral part of the Dragon Boat Festival, besides the boat racing, is zongzi (rice cakes/dumplings) and realgar wine. Legend has it that with Qu Yuan’s drowning rice cakes were thrown into the river to prevent the fish from eating Qu Yuan’s body and realgar wine was poured to keep it from decaying. With these food traditions to follow, be ready to come across a wide spread of sumptuous Cantonese delicacies that are sourced from the breakfast market of Tiretti and Silli Chillies restaurant. Varities of dimsums, baos and buns, meatball and organ soups, momos, noodles, wantons and zongzi (sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaf)–the list is endless and delicious enough to make you drool.
Remember to carry cash if you want to have a taste of the delectable delicacies.
What: Dragon Boat Festival, 2018.
When: June 10.
Where: Calcutta Boating & Hotel Resorts, Rabindra Sarovar.