Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chicago’s Chinatown will fill with excitement on Saturday, June 25, 2016, when multitudes will gather to witness the 16th Chicago Chinatown Annual Dragon Boat for Literacy on the Chicago River.
Following an ancient tradition dating more than 2000 years, teams intricately decorate their boats to resemble fearless dragons, with a head displaying rows of teeth at the bow, and a magnificent tail at the stern. Legend tells the practice began in China to celebrate the valiant spirit of the great warrior Qu Yuan, who lost his life in the River Mi while protesting against political corruption.
The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie) falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which this year in China falls on June 9th. One of the most popular delicacies eaten at the Dragon Boat Festival is “zongzi,” which is a rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves, featuring a variety of fillings (from jujube to bean paste, to meat or eggs) depending on the region.
Teams are comprised of 20 people: 18 paddlers, one drummer and one flag catcher, whose job is to get a flag in the water at the finish line. In the Chicago race, teams raise money to help several different literacy groups.
The Chicago Chinatown Dragon Boat Festival is free to attend and it is open from 8am to 5pm and features activities for children, food and souvenir vendors, as well as music and performances throughout the day. For more information, visit the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Yu’s New Beijing brings Chinese Food made fresh every day to Glen Ellyn and surrounding areas and is proud to share highlights of Chinese culture.
Yu’s New Beijing
610 Roosevelt Ave.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137