A kid-friendly story behind the Dragon Boat Festival

A kid friendly story about the dragon boat festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated to honor Qu Yuan, a famous poet and statesman from ancient China. It is held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which falls on June 11th, 2023 this year!

Here are some common greetings you can say during the holiday:

  1. 端午节快乐! (Duānwǔ jié kuàilè!) - Happy Dragon Boat Festival!
  2. 吃粽子,身体棒! (Chī zòngzi, shēntǐ bàng!) - Enjoy zongzi, and stay healthy!
  3. 祝福你端午节开心! (Zhùfú nǐ duānwǔ jié kāixīn!) - Wishing you a joyful Dragon Boat Festival!
dragon boat festival

The story behind the dragon boat festival

In ancient China, there once lived a wise poet named Qu Yuan. He loved his country and cared deeply for his people. But he noticed that his kingdom was going through hard times, and he felt sad because he wanted to help.

Qu Yuan tried to share his wise advice, but it seemed like nobody listened. He felt a bit hopeless and didn't know what to do. So, one day, he made a decision that surprised everyone. He walked to the edge of a big river called the Miluo River and disappeared into the water.

The people who loved Qu Yuan were worried and didn't want anything bad to happen to him. So they jumped into their boats and started rowing as fast as they could, hoping to find him and bring him back safely. They paddled with all their strength, creating big splashes in the water. They threw zongzi into the water, sticky rice dumplings wrapped in leaves, in hopes that the fish would eat them and leave Qu Yuan alone.

Even though they searched and searched, they couldn't find Qu Yuan. He had vanished, and the people felt very sad. They wanted to remember him and show their love for him. So, every year during the Dragon Boat Festival, they started racing dragon boats, just like the ones they used to look for Qu Yuan. This became a tradition and a well known Chinese holiday. The dragon boats were colorful and looked like dragons gliding across the water. It's a lot of fun to watch!


During the Dragon Boat Festival, people also enjoyed eating a special food called zongzi. Zongzi is made of sticky rice wrapped in leaves. Inside, there are delicious fillings like meat, beans, or nuts. It's a yummy treat that everyone looks forward to during the festival.

So, now every year, people come together to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. They watch the dragon boat races, cheer for their favorite teams, and enjoy the tasty zongzi. It's a time to remember Qu Yuan's wisdom, love for his country, and the importance of unity and togetherness.

Remember, it's important to talk to someone and ask for help when we're feeling sad or facing difficulties. There are people who care and want to support us. Let's always cherish and celebrate the love and connections we have with others.

Sign up for my email newsletter for access to these fun Dragon boat festival bilingual printables. They are available in both traditional and simplified Chinese.

free dragon boat festival printables for kids


  • My kids love all your stories

    Veronica Lok
  • Wow!I didn’t know that! 😊


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