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Dragon Boat Festival Greetings and Wishes: Say Happy or Health?

Written by CindyUpdated Oct. 26, 2023

Dragon Boat Festival (端午节) is approaching. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, meaning it falls on June 10 in 2024.

You might want to know how to give people your best wishes for the Dragon Boat Festival. Some say that it is inappropriate to wish someone a "Happy Dragon Boat Festival". Why? And what should you say?

We have collected some Dragon Boat Festival greetings, wishes, messages, and quotes to help...   

"Happy Dragon Boat Festival" or "Healthy Dragon Boat Festival"?

In recent years, a hot debate has ensued about whether it is inappropriate to say "Happy Dragon Boat Festival" (端午快乐 Duānwǔjié kuàilè) and whether we say "Safe and Healthy Dragon Boat Festival" (端午安康 Duānwǔjié ānkāng) instead.

Confused? That's understandable, since it is common to see 'happy + [festival name]' greetings in China. For example:

  • 'Happy New Year' (新年快乐)
  • 'Happy Mid-Autumn Festival' (中秋节快乐)

However, it is not applicable to the Dragon Boat Festival. There are two popular explanations.

dragon boat festival greeting, happy dragon boat festival

It Marks the Month of Poison!

One possible explanation relates to the calendar placement of the occasion. Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The fifth month is known by some as the 'month of poison' because the 'five poisonous creatures' (centipedes, scorpions, snakes, toads, and geckos) in the Chinese phrase begin to emerge in month 5.

Due to the surge in the poisonous creatures, the warming weather, and seasonal fluctuations, as a result, there are lots of potential ways to get sick, so it is not a "happy" festival. 

On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, people hang fragrant mugwort pouches (香包) and drink realgar wine (雄黄酒) to keep pests as well as evil spirits away. Due to the many traditions that are thought to fight off disease and garner good health, it is believed that wishing "Healthy Dragon Boat Festival" is more appropriate.

It Marks the Death of Qu Yuan!

The second reason to avoid wishing "happiness" on Dragon Boat Day is related to the origin of the festival. Many people believe that the festival originated from the commemoration of the death of Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet of the state of Chu during the Warring States Period (475–221 BC).

On the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, the king banished Qu Yuan. Unable to bear it, Qu Yuan killed himself by jumping into the Mi Luo River. Hence, this day is celebrated to mourn Qu Yuan, and should not to be "happy".

Learn more about Top 3 Legends about Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

But, It Is Happy Too!

Is this the whole truth though? Continue to read… 

It is widely believed that the Dragon Boat Festival actually came before the death of Qu Yuan. The custom of commemorating Qu Yuan is only part of the festival, as are the ill-health-assuaging traditions. The Dragon Boat Festival itself has many elements of joy, and many customs are entertaining, such as dragon boat racing. So, it is no problem to say "Happy Dragon Boat Festival" when offered in the right spirit.

Actually, there are not any formal greetings for Dragon Boat Festival in China. Chinese people don't generally greet each other in real life communications during this festival. It is more likely that such greetings appear in the media or in text messages etc. between friends.

dragon boat festival greeting,healthy dragon boat festival

Dragon Boat Festival Wishes and Messages

Want to send your best wishes for Dragon Boat Festival to your family and friends? Here are some Dragon Boat Festival wishes and messages to share. 

1. 愿你事业像龙舟一样快进;家庭像红枣一样甜蜜;安康像糯米一样粘上就不掉!端午节安康。

'Wishing you a career like a dragon boat — rapidly progressing, a family as sweet as red dates, and health that sticks to you like glutinous rice and doesn't fall off! Have a safe and sound Dragon Boat Festival.'

2. 愿你被诱人的香味包围,愿你享受粽子的甜蜜滋味,愿你过一个难忘的端午节。

'May you be surrounded with alluring fragrance, and may you enjoy the sweet taste of dumplings. May you have a memorable Dragon Boat Festival.'

3. 绿绿粽叶包吉祥,欢欢喜喜过端午;

'The green leaves of dumplings wrap up luck, enjoy the time of Dragon Boat Fest;
The long silk thread holds in health, no ills no shocks for a body of strength;
The fragrance of sweet dumplings airily floats, have a happy life many years long;
Duanwu blessings are offered up, wishing you peace and ease!'

4. 愿幸福就像一根根粽绳,紧紧地缠着你;

'May happiness be like a dumpling cord, tightly wrapped around you;
May health be like a dumpling leaf, enfolding to surround you;
May bliss like a burst of dumpling fragrance, enduringly encompass you.
I sincerely wish you a happy, healthy, and blissful Dragon Boat Festival!'

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