Uganda Dragon Boat Festival At Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
The Dragon Boat Festival is part of a larger Chinese cultural tradition that goes back 2,400 years. It began on the life-sustaining riverbanks in the valleys of southern China as a fertility rite performed to ensure bountiful crops. The first participants held their celebration on the fifth day of the lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The race was held to avert misfortune and encourage the rains needed for prosperity. The object of their worship was the dragon.
Also known as Poet’s Day, it commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet and Minister of State during the Chou Dynasty. Qu had protested against the corrupt government and was stripped of his office as Minister of State. He wandered about the countryside, unhappy and dejected. When local fishermen realized Qu had disappeared into the river, they raced out in their boats to save him, beating drums to scare off the fish that they thought would eat his body. They also dropped rice dumplings in the water as a sacrifice to his spirit. The scene of the fishermen racing out to save Qu Yuan is reenacted every year in the form of dragon boat races.
China Uganda Friendship has organised the Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu or Tuen Ng Festival, to commemorate Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), an ancient Chinese patriotic poet. Originated from south China, Dragon Boat Festival enjoys higher popularity in southern areas, such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. The festival will take place on 28th May 2017 at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre formally known as Entebbe Zoo.