The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. It commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Miluo River after the fall of the Chu State. To prevent fish from eating Qu Yuan's body, locals threw rice wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river, creating what we now know as zongzi. Today, people celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival with dragon boat races, eating zongzi, and wearing scented sachets to pray for health and safety. This day is rich in cultural significance and strengthens bonds between family and friends. Let's talk about the Dragon Boat Festival!

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When Qu Yuan threw himself into the river, Taiwan was developing its rich prehistoric history. Qu Yuan's story reached Taiwan through subsequent waves of Han Chinese immigration, especially around 1949. In contemporary times, we might forget the details of Qu Yuan's story, but the resilience of culture ensures its transformation and continuity.

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Taiwan is a multicultural nation, constantly welcoming new friends who bring their cultures into the mix. The old friends who arrived earlier transform and intertwine their cultures, creating something new. Material culture is a great channel for this process.

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In modern society, seeking the "root" or "authenticity" of culture is futile because culture is always evolving. What new meanings does the Dragon Boat Festival hold in contemporary Taiwanese society? The fact that it's a public holiday encourages us to return to our hometowns.

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Since making and eating zongzi remains a preset activity for the Dragon Boat Festival, it becomes a time for family reunions. We can gather with our families, eat zongzi, drink tea, chat, and share our recent experiences, caring for each other's well-being. Even if the story changes over time, the preservation of material culture allows us to remember and reflect.

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A folk story from southern China, brought by successive waves of Han immigrants, slowly weaves its way into the cultural fabric of this island. This is the charm of culture. In contemporary times, these cultural practices continue to enrich and propel culture forward. We might not discuss Qu Yuan during the Dragon Boat Festival anymore, but debates about whether southern or northern zongzi taste better continue, a unique contention of this island.

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