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Loong Boat Festival

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Loong Boat Festival

The Loong Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Nanjing people like having zongzi, green pea cake, "Frying Five Drugs" (The five "drugs" are silver fish, dried shrimp, brassica, Chinese chive and black bean curd), three-colored amaranth and java senna fruit on that day and they drink realgar wine to get away from disasters. Besides, people use water that has been burnt under the sunshine to wash their eyes so as not to suffer eye disease for the whole year; they also spray water on the ground by flagleaf and argyi leaf which are later put on the door header to protect the family from disasters. The paintings with Zhong Kui and pictures with five poisonous creatures are hung up to drive ghosts away and repel evil spirits. As for children, five-colored silk net with a salted duck egg inside are hung on their necks; five-colored cords are tied to their arms which are called "long longevity cords"; they wear shoes shaped like tiger head and scarves with tiger head paintings; "王"—a Chinese character is painted on the heads of children by the realgar wine. Five-colored tiger flowers are on women's temples.

After lunch, the whole family will go to the Confucius Temple to watch the loong boat competition on the Qinhuai River. There are "three factions" of Jinling Loong boats: He, Jiang and Mu. No where has such a great number of loong boats with so large scale? Each boat is decorated with colorful kites and children play roles of games on it. When the competition begins, audiences throw coins or set free ducks and geese for amusements and cheer for the "championship". Crowds of people gather on banks playing drums and cheering. As for some rich family, they can enjoy it on boat rented ahead of time. Boating on the Qinhuai River started from Tang Dynasty and went blooming from Ming and Qing to the early period of Republic of China. The Qinhuai River is famous for its gaily-painted boats, drums, sound of paddles and shadow of lights which have been vividly recorded in many books, such as "Ke Zuo Zhui Yu" by Gu Qiyuan, "The Peach Blossom Fan" by Kong Shangren and "Note of the Slat Bridge" by Yu Huai.

In recent two decades, the Qinhuai River has been under lots of renovations. Water has been changed in fixed times and the number of gaily-painted boats is increasing which makes the scenery more beautiful. At nights, when the lights on banks are on, it is more fantastic, especially when tourists go boating inside the painting-like scenery. People can truly enjoy themselves



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