Photo Essay

Dragon Boat Festival - More of a homage than a religious belief

Setting up of the Dragon

I do consider myself one of those fortunate one who got the opportunity to travel and stayed to a new country for longer period of time for my professional career for over an decade. This is exactly the time period am into freelancing photography. It is imperative to feel the eternal essence of a place, when we travel a new place, when meet new people, taste new food, learn new language, with all these and other particle of life we get enriched and get enlighten by coming close to a new culture. Having the luxury to stay for longer period in a place for professional reason am more fortunate to get close to the culture more meticulously.

When first time came to Guangzhou city, the 3rd largest city of China, after Beijing and Shanghai, I was aware about the fact that 'Dragon' is a very important and powerful figure in Chinese culture and one of the famous festival of China is The Dragon Boat Festival. But that is the only information I had like probably majority of people who travelled China for business travelling or any other reason. As I have heard about it and having an interest to capture through lens, I asked some of my Chinese friends and colleagues about it, till that time I had the feel like it is like other general festivals where people gather and had a great time and fun. Hearing the impressive background of this festival got immensely attracted towards it made it sure to cover this.

This festival is celebrated in honour of renowned Chinese poet Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) who was also the minister of the ancient state of Chu province. In 278 BC during a war The Qin province conquered the capital of Chu province. Qu Yuan was a true patriot and on the news of the defeat, Qu Yuan in deep pain committed suicide by throwing himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. It is been believed that Qu Yuan's follower rushed with boat to rescue him. That effort of rescuing him is still followed today as Dragon Boat Race. It is also believed that his followers through sticky rice balls to the water so the hungry fishes of the river eat those rice balls and do not harm their beloved Qu Yuan. When I asked why the people on the boat are burning loud fire crackers and beating the drums, a local person replied saying, with full of compassion and believe that to keep the fish and evil spirit of water away from his body. This beautiful ritual of honour and love for a national hero is still performing with immense interest and enthusiasm and passing on from one generation to the next.

This Dragon boat festival really an event for the masses. It is an event with less of religion more of homage, prayer and showing and taking effort to ensure their hero's wellbeing ness. This festival do bring people from all ages and all classes at one place for few hours, together they perform their duties to guarantee welfare of their leader.

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2 responses

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (7 May 2019):

    Mastertful beauty and wonderful/informative narrative!

  • Amit Mukherjee

    Amit Mukherjee said (7 May 2019):

    Thank you Lynn :)

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