Exploring Yunnan: Avoiding the Dragon Boat Festival

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Exploring Yunnan

[Content warning: mentions suicide]

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in the first week of June in China. I took advantage of this public holiday to explore Yunnan, one of the most beautiful places in China.

What is the Dragon Boat Festival? The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan (Chu Yuan). He was a loyal minister of the King of Chu in the third century BCE. Qu Yuan’s wisdom and intellectual ways antagonised other court officials, and so they falsely accused him of conspiracy and he was exiled by the king. During his exile, Qu Yuan composed many poems to express his anger and sorrow towards his sovereign and people. He ultimately committed suicide at the age of 61 by attaching a heavy stone to his chest and jumping into the Miluo River in 278 BCE. Traditionally, people would eat rice dumplings and hold dragon boat races to commemorate the death of this famed loyal minister.

I did not participate in these traditional celebrations, however, and instead I decided to explore Yunnan and get to know the people. Continue reading