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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dragon Boat Festival

There are various legends concerning the origin of Dragon Boat festival. Ancient Chinese farmers believed dragons controlled the weather so the people made rice offerings wrapped in leaves to ask for rain. A poet Chu Yuen drowned himself out of grief of the state of the ruling class destroying his country. The people threw rice offerings into the water to appease his spirit (or to keep the fish from eating his body). His ghost returned to the villagers to tell them that he wasn’t getting the rice, a dragon in the water was eating it, so he suggested they wrap the sticky rice in leaves. The people rowed boats and played loud drums to scare away the dragon. The sticky rice dumplings are still eaten today every Dragon Boat festival which falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. On this day the sun is thought to have a special position to the earth. People in Tainan will leave a large jug of water in the sun all morning and at noon wash their face and bodies for a years worth of robust health. They also balance an egg right side up for good luck (at noon).

Anping is getting set for the Dragon Boat races along the canal. I rode my scooter at lunch to my massage lady and had to slow down past all food stalls and gift stands setting up. I felt relief that I wasn’t going to be around for the festivities. Once was definitely enough. Z and I went 2 years ago, had a good place to watch the races on the other side of the canal from the stands. There were too many mosquitos and the firecrackers were aimed at us and like most celebrations in Tainan, I had to pick up Z and duck and dive under oncoming fireworks exploding all around us. The best part was being happily surprised to see one of my old Tamsui standbys—grilled tofu on a stick with this special sesame sauce and a secret, probably carcinogenic ingredient. Last Dragon Boat I went with Joy and her son to Taijung and stayed at the Evergreen and went to the art and science museums. We also went to Nantou and stayed in some mt top cabins and hung out with sheep and beekeepers. That seems like ages ago and she and I have hardly remained in touch since. [For photos click here].

This year we are going to Green Island with Binh who is my co-worker from Denver and Z’s teacher. Her friend Erica made all the arrangements. I found the info but she made the calls and bought the tickets. We will be there for 2 nights, the last night totally dependent on Providence so I will bring our new tent and pitch it somewhere by the sound of waves and in walking distance to rare salt water hot springs.

Strange this weekend is also a big 3 day holiday weekend in the States. As for Dragon Boats, I’d rather be a participant than watching it. Maybe next year.

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