MIL-OSI China: Dragon Boat Festival revives traditional culture

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Source: China State Council Information Office 3

Unique mugwort bouquets proved a hit with shoppers at the bustling shopping district in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, during the just-concluded Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

In many parts of China, it is traditional to hang certain plants, including mugwort and calamus, over doors during the festival.

The bouquets combined classic festive plants with other auspicious components such as gourds, which symbolize good fortune, bells and greeting cards. Such creative arrangements made these bouquets some of the hottest items of the holiday, and they even trended on social media multiple times.

Zhang Bingning, a tourist from neighboring Sichuan Province, said she found the bouquet arrangement “very refreshing” as it features fashionable elements while staying true to tradition.

Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, traditionally falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It was celebrated on Monday this year.

During the festival, people enjoy activities such as dragon boat races or eating Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who was also a minister of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC).

As an inheritor of a scented sachet technique that has been listed as a provincial-level intangible cultural heritage item in Hunan, Dai Yunyi and her team recently released a new product featuring verses written by Qu.

“We have embroidered lines of the verses and plant patterns onto the sachets, and filled them with fragrant plants mentioned in the verses that carry auspicious meanings. We want to celebrate Qu Yuan culture and showcase the beauty of his verses,” said Dai.

The product proved a success, with a surge in orders pouring in from across the country.

During the three-day holiday, a rich variety of cultural and tourism activities incorporated traditional culture into holiday spending opportunities for the public.

As one of the most important customs on the day, dragon boat races were held in provinces such as Guangdong, Hunan, Zhejiang, Guizhou and Yunnan, which helped boost local tourism markets.

Data from online travel platform Ctrip showed that holiday travel bookings to the cities of Yueyang and Xuancheng, which both hold grand dragon boat races, rose 52 percent and 32 percent respectively from the same period last year.

In the city of Changsha, Hunan Province, visitors to a cultural center had the opportunity to learn how to make Zongzi, sachets and other handicrafts.

In Chongqing, a performance that combined opera and poetry transported the audience to Qu Yuan’s world in a collective tribute to the poet.

Experts believe that a deeper integration of traditional culture with tourism development through closer coordination between the cultural, museum and tourism sectors will help further unleash the potential of consumption. 

MIL OSI China News