Jaye Plant

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is one of China's most famous national holidays. National holidays in China provide an excellent opportunity to travel, indulge in culture and explore. Jaye from EF kids and teens Shanghai shares his Chinese Dragon Boat Festival experience whilst teaching English in China.

Living in China means you have an open and easy route of travel for many Asian countries. Whether you want to relax on a beach, hike up a mountain, explore new cities or hide away in the jungle, China is a great central point. Different cultures, traditions, people and food are never more than a few hours' plane ride away.

From the 9th to the 11th of June, celebrations across China were held for the Dragon Boat Festival. Races on boats with dragon heads, eating of Zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) and drinking rice wine were commonplace across the country. Many people would have travelled back to their hometowns to enjoy these traditions with their families, although many would also have gathered their family on a plane and travelled overseas.

Chinese National Holidays mean that you can get away without taking as many days off work. You'll want to avoid traveling within the mainland during this time (unless you love an excess of people and queuing for hours). While many expats in China choose to stay and experience local culture within the festival time, many also choose to have a few days away in the sun. Flights to Thailand and many other countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and the Philippines are inexpensive and short, making them ideal getaway destinations for people living in China.

I chose to go to Thailand over the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. Avoiding the peak holiday season meant less expensive accommodation and expenditure in Thailand, although flight prices out of China are sometimes a little more expensive than usual during holiday time.

Those who stayed in China enjoyed watching dragon boats race up and down lakes, rivers and canals. The Dragon Boat Festival is said to have started in the Zhou Dynasty. According to popular myth, a local minister by the name of Qu Yuan was banished by the king after a warfare disagreement. He spent the next part of his life writing poetry, before committing suicide in the Miluo River, rather than seeing his country invaded. It is then said that local people raced out in their boats in an attempt to save their beloved poet. Locals threw rice balls and eggs into the river to stop the fish from eating his body.

Before you move to China, why not learn a few phrases or brush up on your Mandarin. Here are 5 tips for learning Mandarin Chinese.

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