Duan Wu Jie -
Dragon Boat Festival
is celebrated by many Southern Mantis Practitioners every year in
Boston, NYC, Philadelphia and San Francisco, but especially in Hong
Kong and China. (Contact me for info if you would like to join
Southern Mantis during this festival - RDH)
The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Double Fifth Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (usually June). It is considered the third most important of Chinese festivals, the other two being the Autumn Moon Festival and Chinese New Year.
The origin of this summer festival centers
around a scholarly government official named Chu Yuan*.
He was a good and respected man, but because of the misdeeds of jealous rivals he eventually fell into disfavor in the emperors court.
Unable to regain
the respect of the emperor, in his sorrow Chu Yuan, grasping a big
rock, threw himself into the Mi Luo river. Because of their
admiration for Chu Yuan, the local people rushed into their boats to
search for him, all the while, throwing rice into the river to
appease the river dragons.
find him, the local people returned every year to feed his ghost by
throwing rice into the river on the fifth day of the fifth
month. But one year, the spirit of Chu appeared and told the
mourners that a huge reptile in the river had stolen the rice.
His spirit then advised them to wrap the rice in silk and bind
it with five different-colored threads before tossing it into the
Some 2000 years later, that wrapped rice is known as Zong Zi. This tasty dish consists of rice dumplings with meat, peanut, egg yolk, or other fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves. The tradition of Zong Zi is
meant to remind us of the village fishermen scattering wrapped rice
across the water of the Mi Luo river in order to appease the river
dragons. It is a must to eat during the Dragon Boat festival
but has become so popular it can be had year around.
Traditions at the center of this festival are
the dragon boat races. Competing teams drive their colorful
dragon boats forward to the rhythm of beating drums. These
exciting races were inspired by the villagers valiant attempts to
rescue Chu Yuan from the Mi Luo river. This tradition has
remained unbroken for centuries.
IDBF (International Dragon Boat Federation) is the recognised World
Governing Body of Dragon Boat Sport and is part of the Olympic
biggest dragon boat festival racing events outside of Asia are in Europe,
particularly in Malmö,
Sweden and in North America, in the USA and Canada. San Francisco,
Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal each host races featuring more than 180
25-person crews. These races take place over two days in mid-to-late
June in correspondence with the 5th Day of the 5th Month
Areas where the sport is growing steadily include Australia, where the Chinese New Year Championship in Darling Harbour, Sydney, attracts about 60 22-person crews annually, with an upward trend in participation. This Championship is the largest dragon boat event in the Southern Hemisphere.
The time of year of the Dragon Boat Festival,
the fifth lunar moon, has more significance than just the story of
Chu Yuan. Many Chinese consider this time of year an
especially dangerous time when extra efforts must be made to protect
their family from illness. Families will hang various herbs, called
Ay Tsao, on their door for protection. The drinking of a
special wine is thought to remove poisons from the body.
Hsiang Bao are also worn. These sachets contain various
fragrant medicinal herbs thought to protect the wearer from
Chu Yuan (340-278 BC) was the first great patriotic poet in the history of Chinese literature. He composed 25 poems including Sorrow After
Departure, The Nine Songs (11 pieces), Asking Heaven, The Nine Elegies (9 pieces), The Far-off Journey Divination, and The Fisherman.
Sorrow after Departure is Chu Yuan's
classic work, which is also the earliest long lyrical poem in
China. The poem resolutely uncloaks the repulsiveness of the
ruling class by deploying a series of metaphors and at the same time
portrays some upstanding heroes who adhere to justice, are not
afraid of persecution and are very devoted to their country and
attributes that Southern Mantis Practicers should cultivate as
Power from the feet - one
thousand pounds force
This produces a live springy power
(action-reaction force in a sticky way). It is produced by the whole
body in spiraling motions, as a spring is twisted and then released.
It is the function of the hand and foot arriving at the target
intently at the same time. There is a saying, "any deficiency of
power in the hand, can be found in the root and center."
The hand moves, the arm rotates and the weight
is transferred from the ground up the heels matching the ankles,
knees and hips.
When rooting, spring and spiral becomes
skillful, one feels as if he is anchored fully to the earth.
Spring and Spiral
Power will spiral from the ground up the
legs and out to the fingers.