​端午节​
Dragon Boat Festival

端午节,又称端阳节,“端阳”可以被理解为“正午”或者“双五”。夏至前后,人们在农历五月初五共度端午,因此,端午节也常被中国人称作“五月节”。端午节的历史底蕴深厚,要论其源头,可以追溯到中国南方地区,主要的庆祝方式包括赛龙舟和吃粽子等。起初,这个节日来源于古代人们祭祀江中龙神的习俗,后来逐渐演变成为纪念屈原(公元前三世纪中国古代楚国爱国诗人和政治家)的日子。

The Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wu Jie), is also known as Duan Yang, which means “Upright Sun” or “Double Fifth”. Falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month around the summer solstice, the festival is also commonly referred to as the Fifth Month Festival amongst the Chinese. Its origins can be traced to southern China, and festivities include boat races and eating rice dumplings. The festival had evolved from the practice of revering the river dragon, to the commemoration of Qu Yuan, a third-century BCE poet and political figure of the state of Chu in ancient China.

​神话传说
​Legends and Myths 

神话传说(一)-- 龙神

Legend 1 -- ​River Dragon

作者:Suchitthra Vasu
Author: Suchitthra Vasu

龙从一开始就被赋予了各种美德,被视作来自水中的仁爱之魂。它也是中国和谐理念中男性思想或“阳”的象征。普通民众会在夏至期间祭拜龙神,因为据传龙神是掌管雨水的神灵。人们一般会向龙神祈求天降甘霖、风调雨顺,以此保证田地的丰收,同时也希望不要一直下雨,导致洪灾降临。

The dragon was initially viewed as the benevolent spirit of the waters. It exemplified the masculine principle or yang in the Chinese ideology of harmony. Among common folk, it was believed that the river dragon controlled the rain and was thus worshipped during the summer solstice. Requests would be made for a balanced rainfall – sufficient to ensure a good harvest, without over-abundance that would cause destructive flooding.

早期的中国龙长着马的头、蛇的身体、鸟的翅膀和四、五条腿。假如一条龙一只脚长有五个爪子,那它便是属于皇室的龙。反之,寻常的龙每只脚则只有四个爪子。中国神话的神谱中至少记载过五位龙王,这些神仙在后来被中国古代皇帝采用做皇室的图腾。由此,龙成为了权力、财富和繁荣的象征。

The early Chinese dragon had the head of a horse, the body of a snake, wings of a bird, and four or five legs. There would be five claws on each foot if it were an imperial dragon; otherwise there would only be four claws. Chinese mythology counts at least five sea-dragon kings as part of the Chinese pantheon. These divine immortals were later adopted by Chinese emperors as the imperial emblem, and thus the dragon became a symbol of power, wealth and prosperity.

神话传说(二)-- 屈原

Legend 2 -- Qu Yuan

作者:Suchitthra Vasu
Author: Suchitthra Vasu

早期祭祀龙神的活动在夏至期间开展。直到二世纪,端午节才与屈原的故事联系起来。屈原生活在公元前三世纪的楚国,是当时一位充满爱国热情与政治理想的士大夫。战国年代时局动荡,屈原曾向其君主楚怀王进谏,希望其警惕北方秦国可能对楚国造成的威胁。然而,楚怀王为政治阴谋误导,听信谗言,转而选择流放屈原。国家就这样落到了腐败的贼人手中,屈原只能绝望地目睹帝国的没落。怀着这种悲伤的心绪,他写下了一系列十分动人的爱国诗歌,例如《离骚》(诉说他的政治抱负的讽喻诗歌)和《九歌》(改编自民间祭歌),屈原也因此受到诸多赞誉。

Primitive worship of the river dragon was often practised during the summer solstice. The Dragon Boat Festival was associated with Qu Yuan’s story only in the second century. Qu Yuan was a councillor and patriotic minister who lived in the third century BCE in the state of Chu. In the midst of turmoil during this period of the Warring States, Qu Yuan had warned his king, Lord Huai, of the threat that the northern state of Qin posed to the southern Chu. However, political intrigue led Lord Huai to banish Qu Yuan instead. The ministry was left in the hands of corrupt statesmen and Qu Yuan helplessly watched his motherland decline. Depressed, he penned beautiful, patriotic poetry such as “Li Sao” (an allegorical poem stating his political aspirations) and “Jiu Ge” (or “Nine Songs”, adapted from the folksong style), which gained Qu Yuan great renown.

公元前278年,秦国将领白起率军占领郢都(楚国首都),并且摧毁了皇宫建筑。数月后,公元前279年的农历五月初五,屈原在极度绝望的心情的催使下,投汨罗江自尽。


In 278 BCE, General Bai Qi led the Qin armies to occupy Ying (the capital of Chu), and destroyed the imperial palace. Several months later, on the fifth day of the fifth moon in 279 BCE, Qu Yuan, driven to despair, threw himself into the Mi Luo River.

于是,传说故事变得五花八门起来。一些人认为,当时屈原深受百姓爱戴,渔民们试图救起屈原,但没能成功。于是他们试着将米饭团塞进竹筒里,再扔入江中喂食鱼儿,唯恐鱼儿们吃掉屈原的尸身。还有人说,龙神会抢走米饭团,必须用楝叶包裹米饭并用五色丝线系起来才能真正起到作用。由此,这种三角状的美食,也就是粽子,至此与端午节紧密联系在一起。还有一个版本,据说是渔民们纷纷用龙舟划船来拯救屈原。因此,每年农历的五月初五,人们都会举办赛龙舟活动,以纪念屈原此人。                                                                                   

Hereupon the legend varies. Some suggest that fishermen at the scene attempted to save their minister. Having failed, they sought to appease his spirit by throwing rice stuffed in bamboo stems into the river to prevent the fish from eating Qu Yuan’s body. Others say that the rice offerings were snatched by a river dragon and the rice had to be bundled in chinaberry leaves instead and tied with five different coloured silk threads in order to be effective. The triangular rice dumplings, or zong zi, thus became entwined with the festivities. Another version tells of farmers rowing out in dragon boats in their attempt to save Qu Yuan. Hence, dragon boat racing has been held annually on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, in honour of the memory of Qu Yuan.

神话传说(三)-- 赛龙舟

Legend 3 -- Dragon Boat Races

作者:Suchitthra Vasu
Author: Suchitthra Vasu

春秋两季,为了安抚龙神,吴国(江苏省)和越国(浙江省)的渔民们会划着龙形的船在江面活动。据说,赛龙舟的历史始于公元前770年至公元前476年这个时间段,在越国,君主勾践会定期用龙舟比赛来训练海军。在汉代,赛龙舟就已经成为一项运动。赛龙舟使用的船长而窄,船头被绘成龙头的模样。喧天的锣鼓声成为桡手们的节奏,旗帜在风中飘扬,观众们在点缀着灯笼的船只中欢呼鼓劲,每个人的目光都朝终点线望去。

During the spring and autumn seasons, the fishermen of Wu (Jiangsu Province) and Yue (Zhejiang Province) used dragon-shaped boats to appease the river dragons. Dragon boat races are believed to have started between 770 and 476 BCE. In the state of Yue, King Gou Jian regularly trained his navy using boat races. It was during the Han Dynasty that dragon boat racing became a sport. The boats were long and narrow, with prows painted like a dragon’s head. Noisy gongs and drums set the pace for the rowers. Flags would flap in the air while spectators cheered boats, gaily decked in lanterns, towards the finishing line.