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Quiz about Chinese Festivals II  the Dragon Boat Festival
Quiz about Chinese Festivals II  the Dragon Boat Festival

Chinese Festivals II - the Dragon Boat Festival Quiz


This is the second in the series. Though its English name draws attention to the mystic dragon, this festival has deeper cultural roots than just a festive boat race.

A multiple-choice quiz by nokbbear. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
nokbbear
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
317,060
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
97
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. However the name is not a direct translation of its Chinese name. What is this festival officially called in Chinese? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The most popular theory of the origin of the festival is that it commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who was undermined in his efforts to fight corruption in the Chu Kingdom during the Warring States. When did this piece of history happen? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. According to the legend, on learning that Qu Yuan drowned himself, villagers raced to the site in dragon boats to look for his body. They beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles to keep the fish and water dragons from his body, thus began the traditional Dragon Boat racing as part of the festivities of the day. What type of boat is a dragon boat classified as? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Before a dragon boat enters competition, it must be "brought to life" in a sacred ceremony. What does one do to bring a dragon to life? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Over the years, dragon boat racing has developed into a sport with diverse rules. Though now disconnected from most cultural ties with the traditional Chinese festival, the sport has been welcomed by people all over the world. Today most Dragon boats are made from fibreglass and other lightweight material. But what were the ancient Dragon Boats originally made of? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Legend continues that as the people failed to recover Qu Yuan's body from the river, they threw zongzi into the river to feed the fish so that they would leave his body alone and not eat it. What is "zongzi"? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Actually many of the well-known traditions of the festival already existed even before Qu Yuan. In traditional China, what kind of day is the Double Fifth (the fifth day of the fifth month) considered as? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. The folk rhyme says: "Dragon Boat Festival, weather is hot, the 'Five Poisons' woke, cannot rest". Since the weather is getting hotter and the rain gradually increasing, many insects and creatures in nature become active. People are prone to get sick and attributed that to the "five poisonous creatures" (called wǔdú). What are these creatures? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Two interesting herbs were traditionally hung on door frames to ward away bad luck. It is believed that they can help avoid evil spirits and diseases. People would also use them to make Dragon Boat Festival decorations and wear them for aroma and health. One of these is calamus, what is the other one? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Though rarely practised anymore, one of the most deadly customs during the Dragon Boat Festival is the drinking of realgar (Xiónghuáng) wine. As a traditional Chinese medicine, realgar can be used as an antidote and pesticide, so ancient people thought realgar could ward off poisonous and harmful insects and animals. However, what is the danger of drinking realgar wine? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. However the name is not a direct translation of its Chinese name. What is this festival officially called in Chinese?

Answer: Duan Wu Jie

"Jie" means festival while "duan wu" or "duan yang" refers to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere when the sun is brightest. So the Chinese name means "Summer Solstice Festival".
2. The most popular theory of the origin of the festival is that it commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who was undermined in his efforts to fight corruption in the Chu Kingdom during the Warring States. When did this piece of history happen?

Answer: 278 BC

Qu Yuan was a wise man, a poet and a politician who served in the court of Emperor Huai during the Warring States. As he fought against corruption, many court officials became his enemy and made false accusations about him to the Emperor. The Emperor eventually lost trust in Qu Yuan and exiled him. Eventually, when Qu Yuan heard that the Chu State had been defeated by the Qin State, he despaired so much that he ended his life by flinging himself into the Mi Luo River.

One of the reasons for the festival is to commemorate this tragic end and for Chinese people to remind themselves of their duties and obligations to the nation.
3. According to the legend, on learning that Qu Yuan drowned himself, villagers raced to the site in dragon boats to look for his body. They beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles to keep the fish and water dragons from his body, thus began the traditional Dragon Boat racing as part of the festivities of the day. What type of boat is a dragon boat classified as?

Answer: Canoe

A dragon boat is a long canoe that seats anywhere from 20 - 50 paddlers who sit in pairs in rows. The boat is styled such that there is a Chinese dragon head on the front and a dragon tail at the back. The boat is steered by a person who stands in the back using a fixed oar. At the front there is a drummer on a raised seat, and the paddlers paddle to the rhythm of the drum.
4. Before a dragon boat enters competition, it must be "brought to life" in a sacred ceremony. What does one do to bring a dragon to life?

Answer: Paint the eyes

In Chinese painting, the eye was believed to reveal the spirit of the person or being, and in actual practice everything else was painted first, leaving as the last step with the filling-in of the eye. This is the most important step as it is believed that, If executed with consummate skill, this last touch was believed to bring the subject of the painting to life.
5. Over the years, dragon boat racing has developed into a sport with diverse rules. Though now disconnected from most cultural ties with the traditional Chinese festival, the sport has been welcomed by people all over the world. Today most Dragon boats are made from fibreglass and other lightweight material. But what were the ancient Dragon Boats originally made of?

Answer: Teak

From a single block of teak wood, the prow is carved as a dragon head while the stern is in the shape of a dragon's tail. The body of the boat is often painted yellow or green in the pattern of dragon scales. Traditionally, the dragon prow is usually painted red and assembled to the body only before the dragon boat race.
6. Legend continues that as the people failed to recover Qu Yuan's body from the river, they threw zongzi into the river to feed the fish so that they would leave his body alone and not eat it. What is "zongzi"?

Answer: Rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves

The main ingredient of Zongzi is glutinous rice. The next most important ingredient is the bamboo leaves which form the wrapping and make Zongzi distinct from other types of Chinese dumplings, which are usually wrapped in lotus leaves. The traditional fillings contains pork and salted egg yolks, or sweetened red bean paste.

However today they can contain all sorts of meats and sweetmeats, and can be vegan or vegetarian. The most popular shapes are triangular and pyramidal. The zongzi can be steamed or boiled.
7. Actually many of the well-known traditions of the festival already existed even before Qu Yuan. In traditional China, what kind of day is the Double Fifth (the fifth day of the fifth month) considered as?

Answer: Day of misfortune

Originally the fifth lunar month was the time for an "early rain" festival to appease the river dragon. In traditional China, the Double Fifth was a day of misfortune: the fifth month was considered an evil month and the fifth day of the month was particularly evil.

The sun is supposedly at its most potent during this time of the year, and therefore the mystical river dragons (who had sovereignty over water) needed to be placated so they would bless the community with an optimal amount of rainfall. Rituals surrounding the theme of dragons were thus developed.
8. The folk rhyme says: "Dragon Boat Festival, weather is hot, the 'Five Poisons' woke, cannot rest". Since the weather is getting hotter and the rain gradually increasing, many insects and creatures in nature become active. People are prone to get sick and attributed that to the "five poisonous creatures" (called wǔdú). What are these creatures?

Answer: scorpions, toads, lizards, vipers, centipedes

Poisonous animals in the region (based on their bite and toxicity) were said to appear starting from the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, which coincides with the summer solstice. People were supposed to get sick easily after this day, the hottest time of the year.

Therefore, during the Dragon Boat Festival, people try to avoid this bad luck by pasting pictures of the five poisonous creatures on the wall and sticking needles in them. Children would wear sachets filled with herbs and spices around their necks and aprons embroidered with the five creatures as mascots to protect them through the summer.

These all make the Dragon Boat Festival also a day for getting rid of disease and bad luck.
9. Two interesting herbs were traditionally hung on door frames to ward away bad luck. It is believed that they can help avoid evil spirits and diseases. People would also use them to make Dragon Boat Festival decorations and wear them for aroma and health. One of these is calamus, what is the other one?

Answer: Wormwood

Hanging wormwood on the doors is believed to make the owner healthy. Wormwood is also a herb that can cure diseases. Moxibustion in acupuncture uses wormwood as the main ingredient and it is burnt on the acupoints to enhance healing.
The calamus is shaped like a sword, and symbolizes the sword of exorcising evil spirits. The Dragon Boat Festival is the first festival after the summer. As the temperature rises, and diseases become more common, people would hang a few wormwood and calamus at the door of their homes to drive away diseases, mosquitoes and evil spirits.
10. Though rarely practised anymore, one of the most deadly customs during the Dragon Boat Festival is the drinking of realgar (Xiónghuáng) wine. As a traditional Chinese medicine, realgar can be used as an antidote and pesticide, so ancient people thought realgar could ward off poisonous and harmful insects and animals. However, what is the danger of drinking realgar wine?

Answer: It contains arsenic

Ancient Chinese believed realgar was an antidote for all poisons, and therefore most effective in driving away evil spirits and kill insects. So everyone would drink some realgar wine during the festival, and parents would use the wine to paint a Chinese character "王" (King) on children's foreheads. On one hand, realgar wine supposedly could prevent mosquito bites and drive other poisonous creatures away; while on the other hand, the child would look like a tiger, which could keep evil spirits away. However, the main ingredient of realgar is arsenic sulfide, which is highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Source: Author nokbbear

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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