The Dragon Boat (Duanwu) Festival.
Summer in Taiwan customarily begins on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Lunar Calendar, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. The increasing swelter also signifies faster spread of disease. The ancients prepared satchets of incense, or hanging clusters of lemongrass and mugwort around the house to ward off the diseases. The festival's highlight activity is none other than dragon boat racing, a holdover tradition from the agricultural lifestyle of the past. People sought to please the King of Dragons through these rituals for bumper crop and favorable weather. The white, foamy streaks of water in the wake of the racing boats, the thrumming of drum on each boat to pace the sweating rowers, and the delightul aroma of bamboo leave wrappers for the zongzi are some of the moments of greatest on this statutory holiday!
(Photo by Tony Tseng)