Xinjin is an ideal place for holding the Dragon Boat Festival due to its wide river, where there are model dragon performances and pleasure boat night cruises in addition to the traditional activities below.
Dragon boat races are very popular during the Dragon Boat Festival. Teams of ten in dragon boats wait on one side of the calm Min River (岷江 Min Jiang) in Xinjin. Then they row the boats with all their might to reach the other side of the river first, as the beating of gongs and drums resounds to the skies. Rowing against the current, thousands of tourists cheer them on.
It's another tradition for the Chinese to eat glutinous rice bundles (粽子 zongzi /dzong-dz/) during the Dragon Boat Festival, which are not only nutritious, but also delicious. Zongzi are usually different from one area to another; both in shape and taste. In Xinjin the glutinous rice wrapped in leaves is often steamed with hen eggs, duck eggs, and goose eggs as fillings. Learn more on Zongzi.
It's very fashionable for locals to wear a perfumed sachet during the Dragon Boat Festival in Xinjin, especially for the young. The perfumed sachet is usually used for expressing love or gratitude among the locals. A young man can send a young woman one as a token of love during Dragon Boat Festival. She may also send one to his family as a token of gratitude. Learn more on Dragon Boat Festival Traditions.
It has been a tradition for the southern Chinese to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in various forms since the Tang Dynasty (618–907), typically on the 5th of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese lunar year.
The legend goes that the Dragon Boat Festival is held to commemorate Qu Yuan (340–278 BC), a patriotic poet and exiled official of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period, who threw himself into the Miluo River on day five month five of the traditional Chinese calendar, committing suicide after his beloved Chu State fell to Qin forces. The Chu people rowed out on boats to retrieve his body. The dragon boat races are a commemoration of this.
Read more on The History and Legends of the Dragon Boat Festival.
Admission: free of charge
How to get there: You can take a bus from Chengdu Chengbei Bus Station to Xinjin County Town for 10 yuan, then take bus 401, 403, or 504 to the Min River.
Nearby Attractions: Chunyang Taoist Temple, Crane Forest Park, Baosen Mountain Forest Park, and Wujin Scenic Area