China celebrated on Thursday Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional and statutory holiday originating in China.
The festival, often known as the Tuen Ng or Duanwu Festival, now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar, the source of its alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival.
The focus of most celebrations involves eating zongzi (sticky rice treats wrapped in bamboo leaves), drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats.
The sun is considered to be at its strongest around the time of summer solstice, as the daylight in the northern hemisphere is the longest.
The story best known in modern China holds that the festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty.
A cadet member of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason.
During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body. This is said to have been the origin of dragon boat races. When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi.