“Qu Yuan belongs not only to Yichang City but also the world and all mankind,” Wang Li, vice governor of central China’s Hubei Province and a top official of Yichang City, said emotionally as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 2022 Qu Yuan’s Hometown Dragon Boat Culture Festival held on June 2 in Yichang.
Yichang is the hometown of Qu Yuan, a well-known poet and a minister of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), whose death was closely related to the origin of China’s Dragon Boat Festival, a day traditionally marked with dragon boat races and eating Zongzi, a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.
After the opening ceremony, a grand original performance named “China in the songs of Chu Kingdom” was staged. Fifteen programs in various forms, including song and dance, drum performance, acrobatics and rap, presented a cultural audio-visual feast to audiences at home and abroad, according to the Publicity Department of Yichang Municipality.
On June 3, a total of 16 teams with over 400 participants from Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong and other provincial regions competed in a dragon boat race in Yichang’s Zigui County with the backdrop of the Three Gorges Dam to celebrate the traditional Chinese festival.
Yichang’s Dragon Boat Culture Festival activities seek to present the city’s rich cultural deposits related to Qu Yuan. In addition to the opening ceremony, a dragon boat race, an investment match-making meeting, folk performances and other activities, the first Qu Yuan culture research international forum, the annual meeting of the Chinese Association of Qu Yuan, a global collection of works on Qu Yuan from young writers and other activities were also held.
As a national Dragon Boat Festival event, the Qu Yuan’s hometown Dragon Boat Culture Festival has been held six times, with an average of 150,000 visits each year. In 2009, the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, with Qu Yuan’s hometown Dragon Boat Culture Festival as its main content, was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Therefore, Dragon Boat Festival has become a thousand-year-old cultural event and a cultural symbol with global influence in Qu Yuan’s hometown of Yichang.