Boat races during the Dragon Boat Festival commemorate the attempt to rescue the patriotic poet Chu Yuan, who drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Unable to save him, the people threw bamboo stuffed with cooked rice into the water so that the fish would eat the rice rather than the body of their hero. This evolved into the present custom of eating tzungtzu, rice dumplings filled with ham or bean paste and wrapped in bamboo leaves.Samoa
Since antiquity the Chinese have believed that the fifth lunar month is a pestilential, danger-fraught period. Sanitation is emphasized, medicines are added to food, aromatic branches are hung above doors, and beautifully embroidered protective amulets or sachets containing spices or medicines are fastened to the clothing of children.
Large crowds attend the festive boat races in Taipei, Lukang, Taiwan, and Kaohsiung. Teams from all over the world compete in the races as excited observers cheer form the river banks.